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Estimated cost for Howe Ridge fire over $7.8M; community meeting set

New numbers show that the estimated cost for the Howe Ridge fire is $7.83 million as the fire has burned structures and forced evacuations in Glacier National Park.

The fire has held steady over the past few days and has burned more than 12,000 acres and is 12 percent contained.

There are over 250 people assigned to battle the lightning-sparked fire.

A community meeting has been set to address the fires burning in Glacier National Park including the Boundary fire, which is one mile west of Waterton Lake.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 4 at the Glacier National Park Community Building near Park Headquarters at 64 Grinnell Drive, West Glacier.

The estimated cost for the Boundary fire is $95,000. The fire is 2,084 acres in size and zero percent contained. The cause is unknown and 11 personnel are assigned to fight the blaze.

In a Glacier National Park press release on Sunday, fire officials reported that the next weather system will move into the region on Monday and is expected to bring a cooler air mass with an increased chance of precipitation. 

Howe Ridge Fire: On Saturday, crews monitored areas displaying fire activity along the southeast aspect of Mt. Vaught and the Inside North Fork Road.

The fire is burning through heavy downfall and regrowth in the burn scar from the 2003 Robert Fire near the Inside North Fork Road.

Smoke from southern perimeter of the fire may be visible from the Apgar area and from the McGee Meadow overlook along the Camas Road. 

There are large numbers of standing dead trees which make this area hazardous to directly engage the fire. Crews continued to position and maintain operational status of pumps along McDonald Creek and Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor.

This is to ensure the pumps are in a state of readiness if significant fire activity were to occur. 

On Sunday, the fire will continue to move through available fuels on the southern and northeastern perimeters. Crews are monitoring and checking equipment in place in these areas and are ready to respond if necessary to protect resources at risk.  

Equipment is in place to implement a multistage plan to clear debris and remove hazard trees along North Lake McDonald Road to improve firefighter safety in this area.

Boundary Fire: On Saturday, helicopters dropped water on active areas of the fire. The fire is primarily driven by terrain and wind, and is showing moderate backing through mixed conifer fuels in the northeast flank. 

Ground firefighting resources are working in the area to monitor fire behavior and direct suppression actions.  

Canada and U.S. fire managers met yesterday to continue 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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