Writer Revisits Pagami Creek Fire Area Five Years After Historic Blaze

Paddling past the Pagami Creek Fire on Lake Four in September 2011.
Paddling past the Pagami Creek Fire on Lake Four in September 2011. (Greg Seitz photo)

There are thousands, if not millions, of young jackpine growing in areas that were burned by the largest wildfire in Minnesota history, five years ago this week. That is what one writer found this month, as he toured areas hit hard by the inferno.

The Pagami Creek Fire burned about 92,000 acres of forest, most of it in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, in late August and September 2011. Outdoor News editor Rob Drieslein was there when the fire was sparked, and recently returned with his family to see what had changed.

Day tripping north from Lake Four to Fire Lake, and then back down to Hudson, Drieslein discovered lands that were untouched by the flames, and areas that had been scorched. All over the burned areas, there were young trees and wildflowers growing and blooming.

“The northern portion gave us ridiculous solitude and classic views of unburned canoe country,” Drieslein wrote. “The latter, southern portion revealed an area that must’ve resembled a moonscape immediately after the Pagami Creek Fire. Farther west, the fire had skipped around a bit and patches of green jack pine remained, but heading toward Insula, it burned incredibly hot and torched everything.”

Aside from the fire, Drieslein reported good fishing for smallmouth bass, tolerable mosquitoes, no moose, and a dearth of young people in the wilderness. Read his article here.

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