News Release

Howe Ridge and Boundary Fires Update Sunday, September 9, 2018; 8:30 am

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Date: September 9, 2018
Contact: Recorded Fire Information, 406-888-7077

Weather: Most areas of fire received only a trace of precipitation yesterday. Today, there will be some cloud cover and a slight chance of moisture across the area, with increasing chance of rain on Monday. Temperatures will be 59F to 70F in the valleys, cooling as the week progresses. Relative humidity will be from 32% to 39%. Winds between 5-10 mph, gusting to 20 mph are predicted, with somewhat higher winds possible on the Boundary Fire today.

Howe Ridge:
Increased smoke was seen in the more active areas of the Howe Ridge Fire yesterday, due to windy, warm conditions. One of the more active areas included the Camas Creek drainage, on the northwest perimeter, near Christensen Meadows. Fire along the Inside North Fork Road and near the North Lake McDonald Road also showed some activity as it backed downhill. A rocky alpine area on Mt. Vaught put up some smoke yesterday. This is not a concern at this time, as natural rock barriers are limiting fire movement.

Crews today will patrol for smokes in the North Lake McDonald Road area. Firefighters will keep a close eye on the Camas Creek area and assess the need for more burnout operations south of the original burnout along the Inside North Fork Road. Aircraft will assist ground operations to keep fire in check in these hotter areas as needed. The Howe Ridge Fire is a long term event; interior smoke will continue to be visible until the area receives substantial, soaking precipitation. Crews are checking on any smokes that might be a threat to structures.

Howe Ridge Statistics:
Location:  NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 13,671 acres
Containment: 17%
Cause: Lightning
Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $10.8 Million
Structures Lost
Residence: 13
Minor Structures: 14
Crews:  1
Engines: 8
Personnel: 144

Despite windy conditions yesterday on the Boundary Fire, further growth was limited. Three Parks Canada helicopters and one U.S. helicopter dropped large amounts of water on the east perimeter. These operations were successful in suppressing hot spots and keeping the fire from moving further to the east.

Members of the Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) flew to Waterton yesterday and met with Parks Canada fire managers to discuss fire activity and the continuing response. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is now stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Canadian counterparts. Today, 21 U.S. firefighters will work with 2 Canadian initial attack crews (8 firefighters) under the direction of the Northern Rockies IMT to construct direct fireline on the northeastern perimeter of the fire if conditions are safe. Hoses and pumps will also be set up along firelines, and aircraft will be available to support with water drops.

Boundary Statistics:
Location:  Boundary Creek
Start date: August 23, 2018
Size: 2,673  acres estimated
Containment: 12%
Cause: Unknown
Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $433,000
Crews:  1
Personnel: 21

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.

Evacuation orders are in place for 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.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open for 18 miles between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed to private vehicles for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The North Lake McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed.

Currently, private vehicles are not allowed in the closure. Visitors can ride the Park shuttle system from the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop to Logan Pass, with no stops. Free Park shuttle passes from Apgar Visitor Center are required. For more information go to To make reservations visit for Red Bus Tours and for Sun Tours.

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:

Additional closures in Waterton Lakes National Park were put into place on Friday, September 7, due to the spread of the Boundary Fire. These new closures include the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lake Shore Trail, the Bertha Lake Backcountry Campground, and the Bertha Bay Backcountry Campground.

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. To date, $2.05 million dollars have been spent on air operations, to deliver 2.52 gallons of water, for a cost of $.81 cents a gallon. This cost has been kept lower due to availability of larger, “heavy” helicopters that can carry up to 2,650 gallons of water, as well as the proximity to large lakes close to these fires.

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.

Recorded Fire Information: 406-888-7077

Fire Information: 406-578-8256  8:00 am – 8:00 pm



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Glacier National Park Information: 406-888-7800,

Last updated: September 11, 2018

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