Minnesota North College - Vermilion Campus (Ely, Minnesota)
In 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire burned about 93,000 acres in the Boundary Waters Wilderness east of Ely. Most of that area burned in just a few days during a wind-driven run of surprising speed and extent. The fire offers numerous lessons related to disturbance ecology of northern Minnesota fire-dependent forests, wildlife response, fire behavior, incident management, and more. Many of these lessons were applied during the 2021 Greenwood fire, not far south of the Pagami Creek fire. Over two days we’ll hear from forest, wildlife, and hydrology researchers, incident managers, agency representatives, and community members.
Event Agenda (v5; PDF)
Day 1, April 13:
Presentations at Minnesota North College - Vermilion Campus addressing the story of the fire, how fire regimes have shaped regional forests, impacts of the Pagami Creek Fire on mammal and bird life, how fire intensity and effects varied across the burn area, and a comparison between the Pagami and Greenwood fires.
- About the Pagami Creek Fire. Nick Petrack, Superior National Forest
- Tribal perspective on the Pagami Creek Fire. Damon Panek, Fond du Lac Wildfire Operations Specialist
- How Fire Shaped the Forests of the BWCAW. Lee Frelich, University of Minnesota Dept. of Forest Resources
- Fire Behavior and Burn Severity. Timo Rova, US Forest Service (retired)
- Pagami Creek Fire: A lens to view our cognitive dissonance about humans living in nature. Gus Smith, Chequamegon Nicolet NF Gus Smith:
- Wildlife outcomes of fires like Pagami Creek and comparisons to other recent fires. Mike Schrage, Fond du Lac Natural Resources
- Pagami Creek Fire effects on soils, aspen, and bird communities. Brian Sturtevant, USFS Northern Research Station
- Comparing and contrasting the Pagami Creek and Greenwood Fires. Nick Petrack, Superior National Forest
Day 2, April 14
A short presentation from Jamie Mosel of the Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership on how a changing climate affects fire risk and what we can do about it. After the presentation, we'll a tour sites impacted by the Greenwood Fire, near the Highway 1 and Highway 2 junction.
- Looking to the future: What to expect. Jamie Mosel, University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership
This event was hosted by the University of Minnesota's Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative, in partnership with the Superior National Forest, Dovetail Partners, Ely Field Naturalists, and UMN Extension. We are grateful to Minnesota North College - Vermilion Campus and presenters from numerous other organizations for making this event possible.