Boundary Waters fire 11 percent contained

Smoke plumes
Plumes of smoke from the Pagami Creek fire rise over trees on Tomahawk Road near Isabella, Minn.
MPR Photo/Steve Foss

Fire officials in Ely say the massive Boundary Waters Canoe Area wildfire is now 11 percent contained. That's up from 8 percent at the start of the day Saturday.

The Pagami Creek wildfire encompasses about 94,000 acres, and officials say wet weather today will likely keep it from spreading.

Fire fighting crews reached remote areas of the blaze over the past two days, and they're making headway, said Mark Van Every, National Forest district ranger in Ely.

"They're starting to make some very good progress up north of the Lake One Chain," he said. "We also have a large number of people on the south end of the fire that have road access, and those folks have been in there with equipment, with other types of mechanized use that allows them to be much more successful at moving much more quickly."

There are now 565 people battling the fire, which started with a lightning strike Aug. 18 about 14 miles east of Ely. Cloudy, cooler weather is helping them make progress containing the blaze.

"It looks like we're going to have a somewhat quieter day from a fire behavior standpoint," Van Every said of Sunday's work. "Things don't always go exactly as we hope, but it looks like it's going to be a more favorable day, higher humidity, cloud cover, which tends to keep the fire behavior down."

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