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Contact: Media/Fire Information, 406-578-8256 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
West Glacier, MT - There will be a community meeting today, Tuesday, September 4 at 6 pm. The meeting will be held at the Glacier National Park Community Building near Park Headquarters at 64 Grinnell Drive, West Glacier. From Headquarters, follow signs to the Community Building.
Weather: Yesterday’s wind forecast did not materialize, and freezing temperatures were recorded in the area. Conditions behind Monday’s cold front will once again become mostly quiet and dry. Winds Tuesday are forecast to be light out of the east. A warming trend will start on Wednesday, with the next opportunity for any precipitation coming this weekend. Valley inversions may trap smoke from fires again this week.
Yesterday, increased smoke was visible in the southwest area of the fire from a successful burnout operation along the Inside North Fork Road. Firefighters used hand torches to put fire on the ground to remove fuels between the fire and the road, which had been prepped as a fire line. As crews worked the fireline, a helicopter supported operations with bucket drops, delivering approximately 77 thousand gallons of water. Heavy downfall and regrowth in the burn from the 2003 Robert Fire in this area continues to be available fuel as it dries out. Crews, assisted by heavy equipment, began clearing the North Lake McDonald Road of hazard trees to facilitate access and firefighter safety. Today, with anticipated continued movement of the fire towards the prepped fire line and road, crews will patrol the fire along the Inside North Fork road. Depending on fire activity, they may continue burnout operations and mop up hot spots as weather and terrain allow. Minimal fire behavior is expected in other areas of the fire. Saw crews and heavy equipment will continue removing hazard trees and debris along North Lake McDonald Road to allow firefighters safe access to the area. Crews are continuing to monitor areas displaying fire activity along the southeast aspect of Mt. Vaught.
Boundary: Yesterday, helicopters continued to drop water on a hot area in the northeast corner of the fire, as the area received only a trace of precipitation with the passing cold front. The crew in place on the ground will assess and implement a plan to keep the fire south of the international border. Canadian and U.S. fire managers are continuing to coordinate efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.
Howe Ridge Statistics
Location: NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 12,496 ac.
Cause: Lightning Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $8.9 Million
Structures Lost: Residence- 13 Minor Structures - 14
Rescue Boats: 2
Location: Boundary Creek
Start date: August 23, 2018
Size: 1,709 ac.
Estimated cost: $278,000
GENERAL FIRE INFORMATION The majority of Glacier National Park is open. Open areas include Apgar, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and the North Fork. The Howe Ridge fire is burning in less than 1% of Glacier’s 1 million acres. The temporary closure area for public safety and fire suppression access is approximately 93,500 acres, or less than 10% of the park.
Evacuations: Evacuation orders are 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), and private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek Campgrounds.
Closures: The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open for 18 miles between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. North McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed. The Inside North Fork Road is closed from Fish Creek to Logging Creek. Trail closures are associated with this fire; full trail closures are reflected on the park’s website at: www.nps.gov/glac.
Aircraft Assigned: All aircraft are shared among the fires within Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest being managed by Mike Goicoechea’s Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team. Two type 1 and three type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the incident. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over both the Howe Ridge and Boundary fires. Drones can shut down critical fire operations, and launching, landing or operating drones is prohibited in Glacier National Park.