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Forest Service releases report on Pagami fire management

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Pagami Creek fire
Canoeists paddle through the narrows between Lake Four and Lake Three, looking south at the fire and the smoke on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. "It really grew during the course of the day," said Greg Seitz, communications director for the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
Photo courtesy Greg Seitz

The Superior National Forest has released the first of several reports assessing its management of the Pagami Creek Fire, which burned nearly 150 square-miles in and near the Boundary Waters this past summer.

The initial report analyzes an incident in mid-October where three firefighters swamped a motorized canoe in frigid water. Two were treated for hypothermia.

The wildfire was an incredibly complex incident and the findings will be used in future safety briefings, Superior National Forest spokeswoman Kris Reichenbach said.

"There's a lot of opportunities from different angles to learn and apply what we learned to future events, not just here but across the country," Reichenbach said.

Over the next month, the Forest Service will release further reports analyzing the agency's management of the fire, including its controversial decision to not immediately extinguish the blaze when it began in August. High winds later fanned the inferno to nearly 150 square miles.