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Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Visitors to Glacier National Park this August will find park activities continuing as usual, despite several wildland fires burning near the park. Park operations have not been affected- all park entrances are open and ranger led interpretive programs are continuing. All concession operated services, including lodging, tours, horseback rides, boat cruises, and guided day hikes and backpacking trips, are also ongoing.
Within Glacier there have been ten small fires so far this summer. Cumulatively, they have burned less than 10 acres. Within the past week, a small .25 acre fire began on Goat Mountain. This fire burned in a rocky area and is controlled.
A smoky haze caused by the nearby fire activity is affecting some areas of the park. Smoke conditions change depending upon nearby fire behavior, the direction of the wind, and weather. Visitors can view current conditions through the park’s Web cameras which are available at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.
Though the park does not have specific air quality ratings, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality posts forest fire air quality updates daily online at: http://www.deq.state.mt.us/FireUpdates/index.asp. Visitors should discuss specific concerns about air quality with their health care professional.
A few trails or trail segments in Glacier have been temporarily closed due to the Skyland Fire, which is located outside the southeast part of the park. The temporary closures include: Lubec Trailhead to Firebrand Pass, Marias Pass Trailhead to Firebrand Pass Junction, Firebrand Junction to Midvale Creek Trailhead, Summit Trail Junction to Burlington Northern Railroad Tracks, and the Ole Creek Trail - from Field Coal Creek Junction to Ole Lake Campground. The Ole Lake Campground, in the backcountry, is also temporarily closed.
“Despite the nearby fire activity, Glacier is open and is only minimally impacted by the nearby fire activity. There is still much to do and great views and hikes can still be enjoyed in many areas of the park,” noted Superintendent Mick Holm. “To put the fires into context, consider taking advantage of our fire-themed free ranger lead hikes offered in both the Lake McDonald and St. Mary area. These hikes will explain the role wildland fires play in a healthy ecosystem.”
Visitors are reminded that Stage II fire restrictions are in effect in the park. All campfires are prohibited. (Fires fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels are authorized.) Smoking is also prohibited, except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials. Visitors should note that they cannot clear an area in which to smoke.
Information about roads throughout Montana is available by calling 511, the Montana Department of Transportation Traveler Information System. Visitors outside of Montana can call 1-800-226-7623. Both numbers are toll-free.
For information on the fires burning in Northwest Montana, or throughout the country, visit www.inciweb.org.
- NPS -