Trees on fire at night reflect in a placid lake.
(Photo: Eerik/Getty)
Adventures in Audio

A Frantic Escape from a Wildfire

Trees on fire at night reflect in a placid lake.

Greg and Julie Welch were relaxing at their campsite in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in August, 2011, when a tiny fire in a nearby bog suddenly exploded into a massive inferno that began racing toward them. At first they were confused: they knew there were small wildfires in the area, but all forecasts suggested there was nothing to worry about—it was humid and rain was on the way. However, an extremely rare convergence of atmospheric events had set in motion what would become known as the Pagami Creek Fire, consuming more than 92,000 acres over several months, making it the biggest wildfire in the state in more than a century. And now the Welches faced only one choice: jump in their kayaks and paddle for their lives.


This episode was brought to you by Go RVing, which wants to help you make the most of your adventures. Learn how easy it is to work from the road or take your family and furry friends with you on your next trip at GoRVing.com.

Follow the Outside Podcast

Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.