News Release

Howe Ridge Fire Update August 17

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Date: August 17, 2018
Contact: Fire Information Line, 406-888-7077

Location of Origin: Northwest of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. Approximately 9 miles from West Glacier, MT.
Start Date: August 11, 2018
Size: 3,500 acres
Percent Contained: 0
Cause: Lightning

On the evening of August 11, lightning ignited a fire on Howe Ridge, northwest of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. Despite immediate suppression action on Sunday, August 12, windy and dry conditions fueled rapid fire growth. On Thursday, firefighters continued structure protection efforts along the west side of Lake McDonald, using sprinkler systems around structures on North Lake McDonald Road. Today the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 2 took over management of the fire, under Incident Commander John Pierson. Fire managers continue to protect the remaining structures along North Lake McDonald Road. Another focus today is proactive planning for protection of other areas.

Fire managers expect the primary growth will occur along the northwest edge of the fire, towards Rogers Lake, and southward to Lake McDonald. Potential growth from a spot fire on the northern side of the fire is somewhat limited by sparse fuel change and avalanche chute, though winds could cause individual tree torching.

A Community Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 6:00pm. Fire personnel will present management plans for Whale Butte, Howe Ridge, Coal Ridge, and Paola Ridge fires at a Community Meeting at the Columbia Falls High School in the “little theater.”

Evacuations: Evacuation orders remain in place for the North Lake McDonald road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station), Lake McDonald Lodge area (all businesses, employees, and private residences), private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and Sprague Creek & Avalanche Campgrounds.

Road and Trail Closures: The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The Inside North Fork road is closed and multiple trail closures are associated with this fire. Please see full trail closures on the park’s website:

Fire Restrictions: Glacier National Park and most of western Montana are under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No campfires will be permitted in Glacier’s 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.

A temporary flight restriction is in effect in the fire area.

Smoke monitoring information is available at:

For additional Howe Ridge Fire information call: 406-888-7077





Last updated: August 17, 2018

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PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


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