August 11, 2017
Contact: Lauren Alley
Contact: Kelly Stevens
Afternoon Update - Multiple Fires in Park Following Storm
Fire personnel conducted a detection flight over the park midday today.
Three fires were confirmed following yesterday afternoon's storm.
The Sprague Fire is currently estimated at 10 acres. A Type 1 and Type 2 helicopter are being used to drop water on this priority fire. Heli- rappel crews have been inserted to support fire suppression activities, and additional crews will be responding this afternoon.
The Rogers Fire is currently estimated at two acres, though little to no smoke was seen on the fire during the overflight.
A new start was detected near Howe Lake that is estimated at less than .1 acre.
Air resources working on the Sprague Fire will assist with the Rogers and Howe Lake fires as available. Additional field personnel will also assist from the ground. Helicopters dropped water on the Rogers Fire yesterday while also responding to the Vaught Fire.
No new fire activity was detected for the Vaught Fire or for previous smoke reports on Apgar Mountain or in the Nyack area, however there was low visibility in the Nyack area due to fog. Closures will remain in effect for all of these areas while the park continues to monitor conditions.
The response team will conduct another detection flight later this afternoon and will release an update with flight findings, overnight fire behavior, and an update on closures in the morning.
9 AM August 11:
WEST GLACIER, MT. – A storm that moved through the park late yesterday afternoon triggered approximately 150 lightning strikes throughout the park. Multiple fires have been reported.
Fires are suspected or known in the Apgar Lookout area, the Nyack area, Sprague drainage, and Camas drainage.
The following trails are closed: Apgar Lookout Trail, Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Sperry Trail from Lake McDonald to Sperry Chalet (including all secondary trails such as Synder Trail), John’s Lake Trail, and Lincoln Lake Trail.
Backcountry campgrounds in the areas listed above are closed and backcountry users in those areas are being walked out. Those include Arrow, Camas, Snyder, Sperry, and Lincoln Backcountry Campgrounds.
Other backcountry areas in the park are still open for day use. No new overnight backcountry permits will be issued today to reduce the number of people overnighting in the backcountry while the park assesses the impacts from last night’s storm.
Sperry Chalet guests will either hike out via the Gunsight Pass Trail, or remain in place while the Sprague fire is being assessed. Guests with reservations for tonight will not be able to access the chalet. Additional updates will be available as the fire is further evaluated. The structures in the Sperry Chalet complex are not immediately threatened, however the main trail accessing the chalet may be impacted by the fire.
No horseback rides will depart from the Lake McDonald Corral today.
A Type III incident commander has been assigned and additional resources are being ordered. The initial attack for these fires is being managed with park and Flathead National Forest fire management staff and law enforcement, including air support.
Most areas of the park remain open including all areas of the North Fork (all closures have been lifted from earlier this week), Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, and Many Glacier.
Fire managers expect hot and dry conditions to persist through the weekend. Additional trail closures are possible as conditions change or new fires are detected. Visitors should check the park’s trail status page for the most current closure information. https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/trailstatusreports.htm
The park is currently experiencing a power outage on the west side of the park unrelated to the fires. The outage extends beyond the park boundary. This may impact the park’s ability to provide up to the minute fire updates.