Update on Howe Ridge Fire in Glacier National Park (Wed A.M.)

Posted at 7:57 AM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 09:57:53-04

Cooler weather is helping fire crews make some headway on the Howe Ridge Fire which continues to burn along the north shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

The lightning-sparked fire, which exploded on Sunday, has slowed its growth although the latest maps show it has burned nearly 2,500 acres. 

The fire continues to burn in an area which includes some burn scar left from fires in 2003, and the latest maps show most of the hot spots are along the northeast flank of the fire, with some active burning to the west. 

There are 60 people currently assigned to fight the fire.

Evacuations remain in effect for Lake McDonald Lodge, the North Lake McDonald Road, and the Avalanche and Sprague Campgrounds. Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed on the west side up to Logan Pass. 

Several cabins and historic structures have already been lost to the Howe Ridge fire. About seven private summer residences and additional outbuildings were lost at Kelly’s Camp at the end of North Lake McDonald Road.

Additionally, the main Kelly’s Camp house, a second cabin, and other structures under National Park Service ownership were destroyed.

One Kelly’s Camp home did survive the fire, as did numerous other privately-owned homes and structures in other areas of North McDonald Road.

The National Park Service believes that three outbuildings of the National Park Service-owned Wheeler residence, the Wheeler boat house, and the boat house at the Lake McDonald Ranger Station were lost.

The main Wheeler cabin did survive, after valiant firefighting efforts that saved it after it caught fire.

The Lake McDonald Ranger Station was also saved, following a fire on its roof.

“This is a heartbreaking time at the park,” said Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “We’ve lost extremely important historic buildings that tell a piece of the park’s story, and multiple people have lost homes that have welcomed their families to the shores of Lake McDonald for generations.”

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