ELY, Minn. (AP) — A fresh command team takes over Monday against a forest fire in northeastern Minnesota.

Spokesman Larry Helmerick says the Pagami Creek fire was 71 percent contained as of Sunday evening. He says the costs of fighting it have reached $14.2 million.

Helmerick says his Colorado-based team turns the job over at 6 a.m. Monday to a Minnesota team that has experience on this fire and hopes to put the fire to bed.

The fire has blackened about 145 square miles in and near the Boundary Waters but has grown very little since mid-September. It was sparked by a lightning strike about 14 miles east of Ely Aug. 18.

The weather is cooperating, but Helmerick says the forecast for later in the week calls for record temperatures and high winds.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (2)
  1. Shannon LaPointe Mead says:


  2. Jake says:

    IMO, this is all about economics, not putting out a fire. Realize the incredible economic impact from having all of these ‘firefighters’, working overtime, will have on the local economies up there. A heck of a lot better than the ‘bikers’ who pedal with water bottles mounted all over their bikes. Fighting this fire is all about economic and political gains than it is about saving the wilderness.

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