Monday, August 3, 2015

Glacier National Park Wildfire Update

The following are some key updates on the Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park. The information comes from the Inciweb website, which was updated this morning. Here are a few items:

 * Due to the return of drier and warmer conditions, progress on the Reynolds Creek Fire has slowed significantly over the last several days. The fire has grown to more than 3900 acres, but is considered to be 67% contained now. Black areas that burned previously are re-burning due to multiple days of very low relative humidity and high winds, while "green islands" of unburned fuel have the potential to be active as well. The Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor also continues to be a hazardous area, as the fire still burns in close proximity to the road. There are currently over 71 miles of hose on this fire!

Inciweb warns that fire and smoke will be visible in the burned area and up the Rose Creek Drainage until a season-ending event, such as the first snow of the season.

Inciweb also notes that wildlife have been returning to the burned area. Firefighters have seen elk, bear, coyotes, moose, deer and various small animals.

 * The official size of the fire is now estimated to be 3913 acres. The fire is now 67% contained. It's believed at this time that the fire was human caused, and is under investigation. Inciweb is also reporting that two structures have been lost, one of which is the Baring Creek Cabin, but I'm not sure of the other one at this point.

* There are currently 467 personnel fighting the fire at this time.

* The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed between the St. Mary entrance on the east side and Logan Pass. At this time visitors can reach Logan Pass from the west side. Visitors are encouraged to take the park shuttle due to extremely limited parking. You should expect delays and congestion. If the road becomes too congested, rangers may turn vehicles around at Big Bend or Avalanche Creek for public safety.

* The St. Mary Visitor Center is now open to the public. Hours are from 8 am to 6 pm. The St. Mary Campground, the Rising Sun Motor Inn, and the Rising Sun Campground remain closed.

* The Sperry Trail is open from Lake McDonald Lodge to Sperry Chalet and Gunsight Pass. Travel beyond the pass is closed due to the fire. Lake Ellen Wilson Backcountry site is open. The Loop Trail to Granite Park Chalet is also open.

* Also, the Red Eagle Drainage is open for hiking access to Red Eagle Lake, Triple Divide and the Beaver Ponds. St. Mary Lake Trail will remain closed.

Although the fire continues to burn in the St. Mary Valley, the rest of the park is still open, with tons of outstanding hiking opportunities available. Remember, the park is more than one million acres in size. The Two Medicine, Many Glacier, Belly River, Bowman Lake and Lake McDonald areas all provide hikes that offer epic Glacier National Park scenery. For more information on many of the hikes in these areas, please click here.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

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