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Contact: Lauren Alley, 406-888-5838
West Glacier, MT – Fire behavior increased yesterday yet there was minimal fire growth under smoky skies. The fire is estimated at 2,600 acres. Visibility hampered the CL-215 “Super scoopers” from working on the fire, however the Type I helicopter effectively cooled spot fires slowing the fire’s growth. Ground crews utilized existing trails to create fire breaks, continued to pump water for sprinklers for structure protection, and cooled hot spots at the residences on North Lake McDonald Road. Structure protection continued at remaining buildings at Kelly’s Camp.
Fire behavior is expected to be more active today with increased winds and the potential of smoke lifting earlier in the day. The aircraft will extinguish spot fires and cool the head of the fire towards Stanton Mountain. Structure protection is the priority for ground crews and firefighters will continue to mop up hot spots along the North Lake McDonald road. Growth is expected on all sides of the fire today.
Terrain, vegetation type, and the potential of falling large trees prevent the ground crews from constructing direct fire line safely. Crews heard gunfire-like sounds of snags crashing down throughout the night. Existing trails and water sources aid fire line construction and fire control.
A Type I team from the Southwest has arrived for an in-briefing today and will assume control of the fire later in the week.
Apgar area residents are reminded of Ready, Set, Go! This wildfire ready program helps residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts. The Apgar area was put in the “Ready” status, which entails creating defensible space around structures, assembling emergency supplies and belongings in a safe place, and planning escape routes, and make sure all residents in a home know the plan.
Area closures and evacuations remain in place:
· Sprague Campground and Avalanche Campground
· North Lake McDonald Road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station)
· Lake McDonald Lodge Complex (all businesses, employees, and private residences)
· Private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The road remains open between St. Mary and Logan Pass. Apgar Village, Apgar Campground and Fish Creek campground remain open. Most other areas of the park are open as well. The Inside North Fork road is closed and multiple trail closures are associated with this fire, including The Loop trail. Please see full trail closures on the park’s website.
The park has established a Fire Information Line with updated recorded information: 406-888-7077. The latest Howe Ridge information and photos can be found on Inciweb.
Glacier National Park is under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No campfires will be permitted in the frontcountry or backcountry. Smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed building, vehicle, developed recreation area, or barren area three feet in diameter. Propane stoves that have an on/off switch are permitted.