Crews Create Fuel Break to Cease Pagami Fire

By KBJR News 1

September 5, 2011 Updated Sep 6, 2011 at 9:18 AM CDT

(Northland's NewsCenter)---Fire crews are doing all they can to prevent the Pagami Fire from escaping the boundaries of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Today marks the second day of a strategic burn out operation.

What started as small brush fire by a strike of lightening nearly three weeks ago, has led to a larger conservation effort to control the blaze in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

"The burn out robs the fire of fuel, ahead of the fire, the way the wind is blowing," Tim Sexton, LaCroix District Ranger said. "If we do it in a strategic location, that will keep the fire from making a hard and fast run under more unfavorable conditions."

To control the fire a team of 103 people have been working to create a fuel break in the natural landscape between the fire line and lakes One and Two.

Two teams of twenty are working on the forest floors while three helicopters are used to further ignite the area.

"It causes more intense fire, and can create a lot of heat, away from the fire line, the lake and Pagami Creek, so that when the lake and Pagami Creek are ignited, the fire will move back toward the main fire which has been ignited by the torch," Sexton said.

Patrol safety crews continue to escort BWCAW visitors across lakes One and Two. Visitors may also notice the sight and smell of heavy smoke from the burn.

"We like to forewarn folks that we know the smoke is there," Becca Manlove, an Information Officer said. "We know where it's coming from and of course, for anyone that's compromised breathing, we like to give them forewarning. "

Information officers stationed at lookout points throughout the area remain busy answering the questions from the public.

"They coordinate what's going on and what's the plan," Tina Peterson, an area resident said. "So what's very interesting to me is the coordination of 100 plus people and the intelligence that they have to protect our natural resources."

Another fire, the High Lake fire has been detected approximately 7 miles northeast of Ely.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch