Photos: Boundary Waters wildfire aftermath

Environment ·

1 A creek glints in the sunlight as it separates burned from unburned zones where the Pagami Creek wildfire burned over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 
2 Islands of green, unburned forest contrast with charred wood and blue lake water near Forest Center. 
3 An unnamed bog near Isabella Lake, surrounded by burned-over forest. 
4 Fire often scours holes in trees, leaving them, or chunks of them, standing after it passes through. Looking through this burned pine offered a view of the far shore of Isabella Lake. 
5 Gray jays are among the most resourceful of boreal forest foragers, and will move in very shortly after fire burns through. Woodpeckers also find a wealth of insect larvae among the burned and dying trees after a fire. This jay was among a group of five working their way along the Pow Wow Trail. 
6 Rows of burned pines planted after Forest Center was abandoned are clearly visible. 
7 A closer look at the Pow Wow Trail parking lot and trailhead. 
8 At left, a lone grouse hunter walks the edge of the burn. Contrary to what many believe, birds and animals repopulate burned areas very quickly, sometimes only a day or two after a tract has been immolated. At right, two weeks after the fire swept through the area, a moose took advantage of the open route along the Pow Wow Trail. 
9 Fire and wind treated mature trees as though they were matchsticks. 
10 Charred meadows and woodland surround the Island River as it approaches the Isabella River. 
11 The view from directly overhead the Island River Bridge, near the end of Tomahawk Road, clearly shows the fire's devastation. Those small hints of green in the entry point parking lot are grasses, which are among the first plants to regenerate after fire. 
12 A popular BWCAW launching site, the trail from the Isabella Portage parking lot in the bottom of the photograph points the way to the right through land heavily burned by the Pagami Creek Fire as it makes its way to Isabella Lake. The Pow Wow Trail launches off the left side of the parking lot. About a mile later, it crosses a bridge over the Isabella River, shown where the shore pinches down in the upper left hand portion of the photograph. 
13 At left, a raspberry seedling pokes through the ash only a couple weeks after the fire scorched the area near the Isabella River. Raspberries and large-leaved aster are among the first leafy plants in the area to sprout after fire. At right, a young, scorched jackpine. Fire spurs jackpines to open their cones and release seeds, ensuring the next generation of this hardy species.