Fire History

Historic image of huge smoke plum over tiny trees and buildings
Burning over 39,000 acres, the Half Moon Fire of 1929 was one of the park's largest

NPS/R.E. Marble

There has been a fire in Glacier National Park almost every year of its existence. The year with the most was 1936 (64 fires!) and 1964 was the only year with no fire on record. The summer of 2003 was the most significant fire season in the history of Glacier National Park. Approximately 136,000 acres burned within the park boundary.

Fires are a naturally recurring part of the forest lifecycle, but for us (park employees and visitors alike) fires are often an exciting, sometimes scary, experience. Below are images, stories, and information from past fire incidents to help create a bigger picture of what fire means to Glacier.


Map of Fire History

Explore past fires in Glacier, stretching back to 1910. The park and its surroundings are a patchwork of recent and historic burns, which contribute to rich biodiversity. You may be surprised to see how much of Glacier has experienced fire over the years.

Click on a fire footprint to see its name and year. Darker colors are more recent fires.
side by side landscape comparison


Repeat Photography from Fire Lookouts

Check out these incredible photograph pairings from Fire & Aviation Management. Compare 1930s photographs with the same view in the late 2000s. Look for changes in the landscape. Note the patterns of live and dead trees, and patches of trees of different heights, types, or ages.

Historic image of burn area near mountain pass
Swiftcurrent Valley after Heavens Peak Fire



Read the dramatic story of the Heaven's Peak Fire of 1936.

rangers and Smokey Bear cutout by fire sign


NPS Fire History Timeline

Explore a timeline of past events that have shaped fire policy in the United States today.

man with binoculars on stone steps of lookout building
Swiftcurrent Lookout



Watch a short documentary looking at the people that work as Glacier National Park fire lookouts.

Last updated: October 5, 2023

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PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



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