Pagami Creek Wildfire

A lightning strike approximately 13 miles east of Ely started the Pagami Creek Wildfire inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  The fire smoldered in a bog for several days.  Like hundreds of other lightning fires, it produced barely enough smoke to indicate its existence.  Then a a series of extraordinary and unusual conditions came together that caused the Pagami Creek Fire to demonstrate unprecedented behavior and grow to historic proportions. (downloadable fact sheet)


One, Two, Three, Four, and Five Years Later Slide Shows

Closure and Trail Status Maps

Post-fire Reports


One Year Later:  The Pagami Creek Wildfire Area on September 11, 2012



Two Years Later:  The Pagami Creek Wildfire Area on September 10, 2013


Three Years Later:  The Pagami Creek Wildfire Area on September 11, 2014



Four Years Later:  The Pagami Creek Wildfire Area on September 10, 2015

Five Years Later:  The Pagami Creek Wildfire Area on September 12, 2015


Closures and trail clearing related to the Pagami Creek Wildfire (updated 7/12/13) 

A total of 116 campsites in the BWCAW were affected by the Pagami Creek Wildfire. Forest Service crews have worked with partners to rehabilitate campsites, trails and portages. While a few campsites remained closed for visitor use, most of the area affected by the fire has been re-opened to the public.

Pagami Creek Campsite, Portage, and Area Closures (click title for text of closure order.)  

Posted campsites are closed both for the safety of Wilderness visitors and to allow sites to recover through natural processes. 


See the maps below for current closures and trail clearing progress.  

Map of the vicinity of the Pagami Creek Fire














Click for an enlarged copy of the above map showing Pagami vicinity and index of campsite status maps - 8 1/2" x 11" or 11" x 17"

Campsite Status Maps

BWCAW Campsite Status Map 1, Lake Three Area  

BWCAW Campsite Status Map 2, Polly Lake Area   

BWCAW Campsite Status Map 3, Isabella Lake Area  

BWCAW Campsite Status Map 4, Clearwater Lake Area  


Post fire reports:

Pagami Creek Decision Support

    Appendix A:  Information Considered for August 20, 2011 Decisions

    Appendix B:  Conditions from August 21-25, 2011

    Appendix C:  Information Used in Developing a Course of Action for the Pagami Creek Fire on August 26, 2011

Pagami Creek Regional Review

Pagami Creek Policy Review

Pagami Creek Fire Entrapments Facilitated Learning Analysis

Alice Lake Capsized Canoe Facilitated Learning Analysis

Bull Dozer Snag Facilitated Learning Analysis


Learn More!

The following downloadable brochures describe and interpret the fire ecology of the area and provide guidance for visitors to the area in the BWCAW that was affected by the Pagami Creek Wildfire.

Discovering the Ecology of the Pagami Creek Area

Exploring and Camping in the Pagami Creek Fire Area