Update on the Pagami Creek fire in the BWCAW & its impact on Tofte

September 13, 2011

Many of you have probably heard the media reports about the Pagami Creek Fire, which started August 18 in the Ely area of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Unofficial reports say the fire is now in excess of 60,000 acres and is directly NW of Bluefin Bay/Tofte about 35 miles. The worst smoke (smells like campfire smoke) in Tofte/Bluefin Bay has been when we’re having really strong NW winds – primarily this past Sunday and Monday. Strong NW winds push the smoke directly toward us fast enough so it doesn’t have time to rise far into the atmosphere.

Today, Tuesday, we have west winds and it has cleared up considerably at Bluefin Bay with sunny skies. The forecast is for winds to vary from West to NW until Thursday, and then move southerly Thursday night into the weekend. This suggests that we will have intermittent periods of smoke in our area perhaps tonight, Wednesday and Wednesday night. Given the current forecast it should be clear for this weekend at Bluefin Bay. We will update the blog daily with how Bluefin Bay is affected so that our guests know what to expect.

Superior National Forest and The US Forest Service are issuing bans on campfires in the BWCAW and have closed many routes into the BWCAW. For the most up to date information, please check the U.S. Forest Service website or click here.

For a map of the fire area and its proximity click here.

Some facts about wildfires:

Those of you that know the area well know that wildfires are inevitable in this ecosystem. That said, it is a scary time for so many of our friends and neighbors who are most directly affected by this forest fire. Our thoughts are with our friends at the end of the Sawbill Trail and our neighbors in the Ely, MN area.

It appears the Pagami Creek fire is now the largest in Minnesota since the Ham Lake fire burned over 76,000 acres in Minnesota and Ontario in May 2007, destroying 163 structures near the Gunflint Trail.