Public Meetings Calm Residents, Pagami Fire Flames Continue

By KBJR News 1

Public Meetings Calm Residents, Pagami Fire Flames Continue

September 14, 2011 Updated Sep 14, 2011 at 12:40 AM CDT

(Northland's NewsCenter)---The Pagami Creek Fire in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness has exceeded 100,000 acres and the flames are expected to continue.

Public meetings are being held around the northeastern region to inform the public of area closings and evacuations.

Pagami Creek Fire crews continue to monitor areas within the BWCAW and continue to develop plans for visitor evacuations and closure as the fire continues to spread.

While wind gusts on Monday of up to 45 MPH caused the fire to grow to nearly 70,000 acres, fire officials are optimistic the fire will not spread as quickly on Wednesday.

"Thankfully we got a little bit of rain, on the fire this afternoon, we have cooler temperatures, possibly frost tonight, lower winds tomorrow, predicted to be out of the west, so we anticipate lower rates of spread, only a quarter mile the entire day," Mark Van Every, Kawishiwi District Ranger said.

A type one fire crew has been called from Montana and will be on the fire lines Wednesday helping already existing crews contain the fire.

"They've fought fires all over the country for years, and they have done this type of work, they are very experienced at it," Van Every said. "They are the most experienced people we have in the country."

Many area residents are worried about the rapid growth rate of the fire.

"Especially since we are so close, like with Ely, I'm worried about the other communities," Samantha Perry, an Ely resident said.

Fire officials were able to provide some relief to residents who attended the town hall meeting at the Vermillion Community College in Ely.

"Its nice to know that they are out there, evacuating towns and suggesting people move, like, leave right now because of the danger," Trevor Hinman, an Ely resident said. "But its nice to know that they are out there, and taking care of the problem."

A joint information center has been set up at the Kawishiwi Ranger District Office.

Public Information Officer are available to answer questions from 7:30 a.m.- to 8:30 p.m.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch