Glacier National Park
National Park Service
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936
A red flag warning is in effect today. With low relative humidity and breezy winds, another critical fire weather day is expected Thursday. With the red flag warning and the steep, rugged terrain that makes up much of the area, fire managers are focusing on firefighter safety as the number one priority. Fire managers will continue to concentrate on structure protection and fuels reduction around park service facilities.
The Sprague Fire perimeter is now estimated at 2,097 acres. An infrared flight on Tuesday night reported a growth of 522 acres primarily on the southwest flank. Firefighters continue to reduce fuels around structures and utilize helicopter bucket drops as needed, particularly in the Snyder Creek and Sperry Chalet areas. The fire did cross Snyder Creek on the northeast tip last evening.
Lake McDonald Lodge is closed for the season, and other concessions operations have been adjusting services in the Lake McDonald Lodge area. Out of concern for employee and guest health, Glacier National Park Lodges (Xanterra Parks and Resorts) closed to overnight accommodations, retail, and food and beverage services at the Lake McDonald Lodge area. Other services such as the boat tour and horseback rides continue to operate.
Most of the park is unaffected by the fire, including the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Sprague, Snyder, and Lincoln Creek drainages and associated trails, from Lake McDonald Trailhead on the west and Gunsight Pass on the east, are closed to all use. Visit http://go.nps.gov/glacconditions for trail, road, and campground information.
Smoke will continue to settle into low-lying areas when air temperatures cool at night and in the early morning hours. If you encounter smoke while driving, slow down, turn on your headlights, and watch out for people and wildlife. Montana Wildfire Smoke Updates are available on http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/. If it’s smoky in one area of the park, there are often other areas of the park with better visibility. Smoke conditions vary in intensity, location and duration with fire activity.You can monitor current conditions on the Park’s webcams at http://go.nps.gov/glacwebcams.
Fire managers are protecting values at risk and evaluating structure protection needs. Values at risk include the Mount Brown Lookout, Sperry Chalet, backcountry cabins and campgrounds, structures in the Lake McDonald area, and trail infrastructure such as footbridges. Yesterday, the firefighting operations at Crystal Ford Bridge were resupplied by the Glacier National Park pack string. The mules seem to enjoy the trip because the firefighters feed them apples!
Firefighters are staged at Sperry Chalet. Structure protection is in place, including two water tanks, hose lays and sprinklers. The chalet is located in a rocky, subalpine environment with sparse vegetation. Fire managers are confident that these structure protection measures and personnel can protect the historic buildings if needed. An exchange of personnel is planned for today.
Fire Information Line: 406-888-7077
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5510/ (fire updates, maps and photos, air quality info, and park webcams)