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Boreal Community Media

Moose, berries thrive seven years after northern Minnesota wildfire

Aug 18, 2018 10:23AM ● By Editor
Square Lake seven years after the Pagami Creek Fire burned through the area. Peter Passi / Forum News Service

ELY, Minn. — Seven years ago today, a lightning strike about 13 miles east of Ely touched off the Pagami Creek Fire, a blaze that would burn for weeks, leaving 145 square miles of forest charred and denuded. It remains the largest fire northern Minnesota has seen in 80-plus years.

Last week, our family tripped through a portion of the burn area, and even though berry season appeared to be winding down elsewhere in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, plentiful blueberries still were popping amidst the remnants of the fire. We greedily gobbled our way through portages to and from Square Lake and Kawashaschong Lake as we circled through the area, enroute to Malberg, Adams, Boulder and Makwa via the Kawishiwi River.

The stark landscape of the burn remains studded with the skeletal remains of trees, but saplings, wildflowers, berries and bees have swept in to fill the void.

For more on this story, follow this link to the Brainerd Dispatch.

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