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Entries in Glacier National Park fires (6)


Crews almost done with Essex fire break against Sheep Fire

A helicopter navigates through smoke at the Thompson Divide Complex Saturday- Jonathan Moor photo(ESSEX)- Fire crews have nearly completed construction of a fire break around the small community of Essex, in an effort to save the town from burning because of the stubborn Sheep Fire.

Meanwhile, evacuations for area residents remain in place, and U.S. 2 remains closed to through traffic around the southern end of Glacier National Park. 

The Sheep Fire was slowed somewhat Saturday by heavy smoke that blanketed the area. Still, it has burned over 1500 acres and continues to threaten more than 200 structures in Essex, as well the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. None of the fire has been contained as of Saturday evening. 

Smoke also limited helicopter water drops Saturday, but the cold front that moved through the Northern Rockies didn't produce the strong winds that firefighters had been worried about. Evacuees are being sheltered in West Glacier. 

Meanwhile, the other fires in the Thompson Divide Complex continue to burn. There's no containment on the 700-acre Granite Fire. However, the first fire in the complex, the Thompson Fire, burning in the Nyack backcountry, is now 20% contained. 


Cooler weather, light winds help with Glacier fires

Jonathan Moor photo (ESSEX)- Cooler weather and minimal winds were a big help Saturday, helping keep some of the new fire activity on a series of blazes burning along the southern edge of Glacier National Park. 

The fires, called the Thompson-Divide Complex, consists of three fires. Those include the Thompson Fire burning in the Nyack backcountry, and the Sheep, Granite and Spruce fires burning closer to Essex. 

The Sheep Fire has burned over 4-hundred acres and has been the biggest concern the past few days because of its proximity to Essex, with more than 200-structures, including the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line at risk. 

The Granite Fire west of Marias Pass has burned just under 200-acres south of U.S. 2 in the Great Bear Wilderness. The Thompson Fire has burned over 14,000 acres, but crews have made good progress with mop-up operations around the fire perimeter and the blaze is set to go into monitoring status. The Spruce Fire has burned just 3-acres. 

Residents in Essex remain on evacuation alert, however U.S. 2 was re-opened through the Sheep Creek fire scene with pilot cars guiding traffic. A community meeting is set for at 8 p.m. Sunday evening at the Izaak Walton Inn. 


Thompson Fire burns thousands of acres in Glacier NP

GNP photo(WEST GLACIER)- A new fire first spotted over the weekend has now burned upwards of 2,000 acres in a remote corner of Glacier National Park. 

The Thompson Fire was first spotted Sunday afternoon in the Nyack drainage, which is roughly 10-miles southeast of Lake McDonald. The blaze is burning in very rugged remote terrain.

By yesterday afternoon, Glacier National Park officials were estimating the fire's size at 1900 acres. The park isn't sending ground crews into the remote location, but is attacking the blaze with aerial water drops in hopes of slowing its spread in the hot, dry conditions this week. 


New fire roars to life in southern Glacier National Park

Connie Konopatzke photo(GLACIER N.P.)- Firefighting crews spent Sunday scrambling to get to a new fire that's roared to life in the Glacier National Park backcountry, in the southeast corner of the park.
The Thompson Fire was first spotted around 3 p.m. Sunday in the Thompson Creek drainage. The blaze lies southeast of Lake McDonald and west of the Upper Nyack Campground. But the location of the fire made the smoke easily visible from a broad area of the park, including St. Mary and U.S. 2 around the southern perimeter of the park. 

There have been no firm estimates on the size of the fire at this point, which is burning in the most remote corner of the park, but it's believed to be between 200 and 500 acres. Flathead National Forest had reported aircraft were being called up to the scene, with at least one helicopter in the area by Sunday evening and more in route.
The fire poses no risk to any structures. The only buildings in that corner of the park are some historic ranger cabins and outbuildings at Nyack. 



Reynolds Creek Fire doubles to 4000 acres today

GNP photo (ST. MARY)- The raging Reynolds Creek Fire doubled in size Wednesday, growing to approximately 4,000-acres. 

Glacier National Park managers say the latest fire maps this evening showed the fire had grown dramatically since the 2,000 acre estimate earlier on Wednesday. Windy, dry weather helped spread the blaze, which broke out about 6-miles east of Logan Pass on Tuesday afternoon. 

The fire has forced evacuations throughout the popular St. Mary Valley, with tourists asked to leave campgrounds and lodging within the park. Most of the Going-to-the-Sun Highway also remains closed, although tourists were able to drive halfway up to Logan Pass from the west side. 

Park officials say the high winds and "extreme behavior" of the fire limited what could be done in fighting the blaze today. Crews were able to do some work on the ground, with aircraft dropping water on the fire from above.