Glacier National Park
National Park Service
PO Box 128 West Glacier Montana 59936
West Glacier, MT 59936
Howe Ridge Fire Update
Wednesday, September 5, 2018; 8:30 am
Mike Goicoechea, Incident Commander
Recorded Fire Information: 406-888-7077
Fire Information: 406-578-8256 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Glacier National Park Information: 406-888-7800, www.nps.gov/glac
Special Note: The Park will begin offering limited visitor access on the currently closed west side portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on Friday, September 7. Visitors will be required to use shuttle or tour services to travel through the closed area in order to provide for visitor safety and firefighter access. Currently, private vehicles will not be allowed in the closure. Visitors will be able to ride the Park shuttle system from the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop to Logan Pass, with no stops. Free park shuttle passes will be required. For more information on shuttles, Red Bus and Sun Tours please find the recent media release at https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/newsreleases.htm. Visitors who would like to make reservations for a ride up the Going to the Sun Road should visit http://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/ for Red Bus Tours and http://www.glaciersuntours.com/ for Sun Tours.
Weather: A warming trend will start today, with temperatures in the 70’s or higher. A cold front moving across the area on Saturday will bring a slight chance of rain and cooler temperatures for the weekend. Winds will be mild and terrain driven.
Howe Ridge: Yesterday, crews patrolled and mopped up along the Inside North Fork Road from the completed burnout operation done on Monday. With the road prepped as a fireline, the fire was held at the road. Helicopters were used to cool hotter areas of the fire with water drops. Today crews along the Inside North Fork Road will make sure the fire holds at the road, and continue firing operations as appropriate. Heavy downfall and regrowth in the burn from the 2003 Robert Fire will continue to dry out today, with the more active fire behavior on the fire’s west side. Crews have finished clearing the North Lake McDonald Road of hazard trees to facilitate access and firefighter safety, and will be moving to the Inside North Fork Road to do similar hazard tree removal.
Minimal fire behavior is expected in other areas of the fire. Crews are continuing to monitor the fire as it slowly backs downslope along the southeast aspect of Mt. Vaught. The cedar and hemlock forest on the flats below the fire is not expected to carry fire easily, having little understory and being a wetter forest type.
Howe Ridge Statistics
Location: NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 12,857 ac. Containment: 15%
Cause: Lightning Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $9.4 Million
Minor Structures: 14
Crews: 4 Engines: 8
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 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, 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 to private vehicles for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. As of Friday, September 7, Glacier National Park will be offering limited shuttle and tour services from the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop to Logan Pass. For more information about free Park shuttle passes and details on riding the shuttles, please visit https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/newsreleases.htm. The North Lake 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. Two type 1 and three type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the incident.
To date, helicopters have dropped a total of 1.99 million gallons of water on the five fires managed by the Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (Paola Ridge, Coal Ridge, Whale Butte, Howe Ridge, and Boundary fires). Costs for these air operations activities are currently 1.7 million, which equates to approximately 85 cents per gallon of water.
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.