Howe Ridge and Boundary Fires Update Saturday, September 15, 2018; 8:30 am

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Date: September 15, 2018
Contact: Recorded Fire Information, 406-888-7077

West Glacier, MT. -

Weather: Today will be mostly sunny in the morning with increasing clouds in the afternoon.  This will be the warmest and driest day since Sunday, September 9.  Light rain will develop during the night with a significant wetting rain event on Sunday afternoon and night. Temperatures will range from 63-71 degrees in the Flathead Valley and 40-50 degrees at the Boundary Fire. In the Flathead Valley, the relative humidity will drop to the 20’s and at the Boundary Fire it will range in the mid 50’s.  Winds will remain at 5-10 mph out of the southeast, shifting to come from the east-northeast 8-13 mph later in the day, with gusts 15-20 mph. 

Howe Ridge Fire:
Fire crews will be monitoring fire spread above the Going to the Sun Road, between the inside North Fork Road and Howe Creek, and along Camas Ridge.  Crews will maintain pumps, sprinklers and hose lays near upper Lake McDonald, McDonald Creek Trail and Fish Creek. Crews remain ready to protect infrastructure as needed.  Minimal fire activity is predicted today, mainly creeping and smoldering.

Howe Ridge Statistics
Location:  NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 14,522 ac.
Containment: 25%
Cause: Lightning
Injuries: 0
Estimated cost:
$11.9 Million
Structures Lost
Residence: 13
Minor Structures: 14
Resources
Crews:  2
Engines: 2
Personnel: 124 

Boundary Fire:
Yesterday, Parks Canada fire management staff toured the Incident Command Post in West Glacier and met with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team. Air operations were able assist in the removal of equipment from the Boundary Fire area.  The majority of fireline personnel have been released from the Boundary Fire.  Remaining personnel will monitor the east side of the fire and utilize air resources to check the fire spread toward Waterton Lake as needed.  Today, fire behavior will continue to be minimal, mainly creeping and smoldering. The Waterton Lake Trail and the North Boundary Trail will remain closed for fire activity, but all other trails and all backcountry camping sites in the Goat haunt area are now open. 

Boundary Statistics
Location:  Boundary Creek
Start date: August 23, 2018
Size: 2,911  ac. estimated
Containment: 21%
Cause: Unknown
Injuries: 0
Resources
Crews:  1
Personnel: 10

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 less than 5% of the park.  

Evacuations:
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. Closed campgrounds include Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek.

Closures:
The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open on the eastern section for 18 miles between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed to private vehicles on the western section for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The North Lake McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed. The Waterton Lake Trail and the North Boundary Trail for will remain closed for fire activity, but all other trails and all backcountry camping sites in the Goat Haunt Area are now open.

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 https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/newsreleases.htm. For reservations visit http://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com for Red Bus Tours or http://www.glaciersuntours.com 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: https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/nature/fire-information.htm.

Additional closures in Waterton Lakes National Park were put into place on Friday, September 7, due to the spread of the Boundary Fire. As of September 14, the Bertha Lake Trail and the Bertha Bay and Bertha Lake Backcountry Campgrounds are open. However, the Lakeshore Trail beyond the Bertha Bay Backcountry remains closed. On evening of September 10, Parks Canada closed the Bison Paddock overlook to facilitate helicopter operations. 

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. One Type 1, and two Type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the incident. 

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the Howe Ridge. Drones can shut down critical fire operations, and launching, landing or operating drones is prohibited in Glacier National Park.

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Last updated: September 17, 2018

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Phone:

(406) 888-7800

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