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Update on Howe Ridge Fire in Glacier National Park (August 26)

The Howe Ridge Fire (Inciweb), which has forced evacuations on the west side of Glacier National Park, has now burned 12,420 acres and is 10 percent contained.

According to a Glacier National Park press release, the Howe Ridge Fire continues to burn on the west side of Glacier National Park. An interagency response has been fighting the fire since it began on August 11.

A low pressure system will bring showers and significantly cooler temperatures to the area Sunday night and Monday. This will give firefighters a welcome reprieve from hot and dry conditions and time to plan for future firefighting efforts, but is not expected to extinguish the fire.

Fire on the southern perimeter has been backing slowly toward the Inside North Fork Road, which is serving as a containment line. The fire is within 100-150 yards of the Inside North Fork Road in places. Work to reduce fuels along the road has successfully concluded.

On Saturday, helicopter water drops were used to slow fire movement to the south, and fire managers anticipate that the road will prevent the fire from spreading farther south.

On the north end of the fire, firefighters have reinforced existing trails with sprinklers to serve as fire lines, as the fire backs slowly down from the rocky slopes where it is currently burning.

Natural features such as avalanche chutes and sparse fuels have somewhat limited fire growth. Firefighters continue to use hand and aerial ignition in order to establish a more secure fire line to hold fire away from Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Hoses and sprinklers are in place to protect the Trail of the Cedars and other facilities at the Avalanche Creek Campground in the event the fire reaches that area.

Evacuations:

Evacuation orders are in place for the North McDonald Road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station), Lake McDonald Lodge area (all businesses, employees, and private residences), private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek Campgrounds.

Evacuation Warnings:

An Evacuation Warning is in place from the Quarter Circle Bridge Road north. This includes Apgar, the Grist Road, and all areas accessed from Quarter Circle Bridge Road. A separate evacuation warning is in place for all park areas north of the Bowman Lake Road junction with the Inside North Fork Road due to Whale Butte Fire activity, currently burning on Flathead National Forest land adjacent to the park boundary. An Evacuation Warning means people need to be ready to leave but are not being evacuated at this time.

Road and Trail Closures: The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The North McDonald Road and Fish Creek Road are closed. The Inside North Fork Road is closed from Fish Creek to Logging Creek. Multiple trail closures are associated with this fire. Please see full trail closures on the park’s website: www.nps.gov/glac.

Fire Restrictions: Glacier National Park and most of western Montana are under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No campfires are permitted in Glacier’s frontcountry or backcountry. Smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed building, vehicle, developed recreation area, or barren area three feet in diameter. Propane stoves that have an on/off switch are permitted.

Most of Glacier National Park, the Flathead National Forest, and tourism opportunities throughout northwest Montana are open and operating as usual.

A temporary flight restriction is in effect in the fire area.

The smoke outlook for northwest Montana is available at:https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/NWMontana

Phone Update:
For a recorded Howe Ridge Fire update, call (406) 888-7077.
For general Glacier National Park information, visit www.nps.gov/glac or call (406) 888-7800.

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