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
Website: Howe: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6135
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 go to https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/newsreleases.htm. Visitors who would
like to make reservations for a ride to Logan Pass should visit http://www.glaciernationalparklodges.com/ for Red
Bus Tours and http://www.glaciersuntours.com/ for Sun Tours.
Weather: The high pressure system will stay in place today, with warm weather continuing, and maximum
temperatures around 80 degrees. Inversions have been setting up the last few evenings, holding smoke from
dissipating. With the potential for dry thunderstorms to the south of our area, there is potential for winds to be
changeable as this system moves through. This instability may help to move the smoke out of valley bottoms earlier
Howe Ridge Statistics
Location: NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 13,037 ac.
Estimated cost: $9.8 Million
Minor Structures: 14
Crews: 2 Engines: 8
Yesterday, the south end of the fire along the Inside North Fork Road showed moderate fire behavior, with visible smoke. This was due to movement of the fire through the dense regrowth of the 2003 Robert Fire, as it backed down into the Howe Creek drainage towards the road. With the warmer temperatures this week, fuels are drying out, including large downed trees from the previous 2003 burn. Crews patrolled the fire and prepared for burnout operations should they be needed to check the fire’s spread. Today, crews along the Inside North Fork Road may initiate another firing operation as conditions allow. This will remove fuels adjacent to the road and help prevent the fire from building momentum to spot across control lines. Fire activity on the lower southeast facing slope of Mt. Vaught created visible smoke with the warmer weather, but no major fire growth occurred. Crews are continuing to monitor the fire as it slowly backs downslope. With plans to partially open the Going-to-the-Sun Road with use of shuttle and tour buses on Friday, crews will pull hoses and other firefighting equipment from the road in preparation for traffic.
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.
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.
As of September 5, helicopters had 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.
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.