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Update on Glacier National Park wildfires (September 1)

As September begins, crews are still fighting the Howe Ridge and Boundary fires in Glacier National Park. 

The Howe Ridge fire is now 12,433 acres and 12 percent contained. There are currently 24 engines, two water tenders, and 157 personnel assigned to the fire.

According to a GNP press release, on Friday, the Howe Ridge fire displayed minimal fire activity with some areas of smoke.

The fire is continuing to creep through areas of heavy dead and down fuel near the Inside North Fork Road and smoldering on the northern perimeter above Upper McDonald Creek.

Fire behavior analysts evaluated the north end of the fire near values at risk to measure conditions and help predict future fire behavior.

Crews continued to monitor and patrol along the McDonald Creek trail. They also prepared a multistage plan to clear debris and remove hazard trees along North Lake McDonald Road.

On Saturday, crews continue to monitor areas displaying moderate fire activity along the southeast aspect of Mt. Vaught and the Inside North Fork Road. 

Smoke from the fire may be visible due to the fire backing in heavy downfall of the 2003 Robert Fire near the Inside North Fork Road. T

They are evaluating and testing pumps along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor and within an avalanche chute below Mount Vaught.

Crews are beginning to implement the plan to clear hazard trees along North Lake McDonald Road. 

The Boundary fire is 2,127 acres and is zero percent contained. Six personnel are assigned to the fire.

On Friday, conditions allowed for helicopter water drops to be used on active areas on the northeastern flank of the fire.

Crews are providing structure protection for Goat Haunt Ranger Station, and working to minimize fire spread within Boundary Creek.

Ground firefighting resources arrived to monitor fire behavior and direct suppression actions.  

Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.

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 approximately 93,500 acres, or less than 10% of the park. 

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.

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

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.

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