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Forest Fire Boosts Ely Area Economy [VIDEO]

ELY  (AP) – The forest fire that has burned over 147 square miles in northeastern Minnesota has given a not entirely welcome boost to the Ely area economy.

The roughly 600 firefighters fighting the Pagami Creek wildfire in and near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness have meant new business for restaurants and outfitters that have provided meals and canoes for crews heading out to battle remote sections of the fire.

Retailers are selling them clothing and cold weather gear. Aircraft fuel sales at the local airport are up because of the helicopters and airplanes fighting the fire.

But merchants such as Voyageur North Outfitters owner John O’Kane are worried. He’s seeing a drop-off in customers bound for camping trips this fall and worries about the future.

Check out this amazing You Tube video of the BWCA fire taken a week ago on September 12th:

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Previous stories about the BWCA wildfire

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