It’s been almost a month since the lightning-sparked Howe Ridge fire started in Glacier National Park. The fire is now 13, 671 acres and 19 percent contained.
The Boundary fire, which is burning near the Campbell Mountain area in northeast Glacier National Park, is now 2,896 acres and 13 percent contained.
A Glacier National Park press release stated a cold front moving into the area will bring significant winds out of the southwest.
Howe Ridge: Sunday was the 12th consecutive day without any substantial rain on the Howe Ridge Fire, and increased smoke was visible from the more active areas.
The Camas Creek drainage (on the northwest perimeter) put up the most smoke as the fire moved through heavy lodgepole regeneration and and through Christensen Meadows.
The fire moved about a mile to the northwest yesterday, with growth estimated to be at a few hundred acres. The fire has spotted northeast towards Rogers Lake and is anticipated to move up the drainage today.
Helicopters were used as necessary to wet fireline near Howe Creek to the northeast of the Inside North Fork Road.
Crews patrolled and mopped up areas of heat off both the Inside North Fork Road and the North Lake McDonald Road.
Assessments were done in the Kelly Camp area to look at options for hazard tree removal and eventual access back into this extremely dangerous area.
Firefighters will maintain readiness to protect infrastructure in areas near active fire, supported with helicopters to check hotter areas of fire.
Boundary Fire: Quiet winds yesterday allowed Canadian and U.S. crews to continue laying hose and setting up pumps north of the border and east of the perimeter of the fire.
Helicopters once again supported work on the ground and dropped water on the southeast perimeter. Fire growth was minimal at 221 acres.
With high winds forecast for the Waterton area today, crews may not be able to work near the edge of the fire, due to unsafe conditions.
Helicopters will continue to support firefighters building line unless predicted high winds prevent them from flying.
Evacuations: Evacuation orders are in place for North Lake McDonald Road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station), Lake McDonald Lodge area (all businesses, employees, and private residences), and private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Closed campgrounds include Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek.
Closures: The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open on the eastern section for 18 miles between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed to private vehicles on the western section for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The North Lake McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed.
Currently, private vehicles are not allowed in the closure. Visitors can ride the Park shuttle system from the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop to Logan Pass, with no stops. Free Park shuttle passes from Apgar Visitor Center are required. For more information go to https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/newsreleases.htm. For reservations visit http://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/ for Red Bus Tours or http://www.glaciersuntours.com/ for Sun Tours.
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: https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/nature/fire-information.htm.
Additional closures in Waterton Lakes National Park were put into place on Friday, September 7, due to the spread of the Boundary Fire. These new closures include the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lake Shore Trail, the Bertha Lake Backcountry Campground, and the Bertha Bay Backcountry Campground.
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. Two Type 1 and three Type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the incident.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over both the Howe Ridge and Boundary fires. Drones can shut down critical fire operations, and launching, landing or operating drones is prohibited in Glacier National Park.