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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Glacier Park Fire Burns Cabin, Red Flag Warning In Effect

Smoke from the Reynolds Creek Fire as seen from St. Mary visitor's center.
Glacier National Park
Smoke from the Reynolds Creek Fire as seen from St. Mary visitor's center.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag fire weather warning for the east side of Glacier National Park today from noon to 9:00 p.m., meaning high winds and low humidity, with temperatures in the 70s.

Yesterday the Reynolds Creek Fire grew from 2,000 to an estimated 4,000 acres, and the number of evacuations both inside and outside the park grew, according to the Park’s recorded fire information line.

"The Rising Sun complex, St. Mary Campground and St. Mary National Park Service residential area has all been evacuated," says the fire information line. "Glacier county has evacuated the west side of lower St. Mary Lake and is proceeding with evaluations on the east shore of lower St. Mary Lake. They continue to evaluate the town site of St. Mary for possible evacuations."

The park service reported extreme fire behavior yesterday, destroying one car and a historic cabin. More ground crews and helicopters on are the way today.

The fire information line adds, "The Park Service had been concerned about backpackers up the Otokomi Drainage, but we're happy to report those hikers have safely returned from the back country. The National Park Service continues to patrol for any hikers who could possibly be in the affected area."

Most of the park remains open, but the Going to the Sun road is closed on the east side.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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