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

Going-To-The-Sun Road Reopens With Restrictions

GlacierNPS (CC-BY-2)

The Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park has subsided enough to allow the limited re-opening of the east side of Going-to-the-Sun-Road. The 18-mile stretch of road has been closed for about two and a half weeks.Going-to-the-sun Road will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. as conditions allow. Bicycle travel is not allowed in fire areas.

"And there is no stopping or parking on the road or in the pullouts along the fire area," explains Park spokeswoman Denise Germann. "Because it's an active fire area you may see smoke. You may see flames. That will vary throughout the day and from day to day depending on fire activity, but you do need to be alert and drive defensively."

Germann says trail access is limited on the Park's east side along Going-to-the-Sun Road.

"Including Siyeh Pass and Piegan Pass. Those are accessible, but not completely. Gunsight Pass Trail remains closed as well as the trails that access St. Mary, Virginia and Baring Creek Falls. I think the best thing to do is check our website before you come or give us a call or stop by a visitor center."

The Rising Sun Motor Inn and the Two Dog Flats Grill remain closed at this time.

The Reynolds Creek fire started July 21st and has consumed over 4,300 acres. It's currently 67 percent contained.

Fire officials say it was human-caused, but have released no details of the ongoing investigation.   

Glacier National Park sent out this press release Friday morning:

The east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is open to vehicle access from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, beginning today. Drivers should drive cautiously and be aware of firefighting activities along the road due to the Reynolds Creek Fire. Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “In consultation with the incident management team managing the Reynolds Creek Fire, we have opened the east side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road for visitor vehicle travel from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.” There will be no visitor travel during the evening, night and early morning hours. Mow said, “We believe the night closure is in the best interest of the firefighters working in the area and the visitor. He said access may increase or decrease according to fire activity and safety. Smoke may be visible and may reduce visibility at times, so visitors are required to drive slowly. Active fire may be visible from the road, and visitors should watch for falling debris such as rocks and tree limbs, as well as fire-weakened trees. Almost 500 hazard trees, fire-weakened trees, have been removed from along the road. If anyone sees or encounters debris or fallen trees on the road, do not attempt to remove it, but please report it to a ranger or closest visitor center. Firefighters will be working and firefighting equipment will be staged along the road. Visitors will not be able to stop or park along the road or in pullouts between the St. Mary Campground and Siyeh Bend. However, the Rising Sun area will have limited access to concession operations. Siyeh Bend is located approximately one mile east of Logan Pass. Bicycle travel is not allowed in the fire areas, but cyclists may transport their bikes via the park shuttle system. The park shuttle service will operate as normal, although there will be no shuttle stops in the fire area. The only shuttle stops on the east side at this time will be Rising Sun and Siyeh Bend. The Glacier Boat Company will resume boat tour operations at Rising Sun. The Rising Sun Camp Store operated by Glacier National Park Lodges will reopen on Saturday, August 8, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m daily. The Rising Sun Motor Inn and the Two Dog Flats Grill will remain closed at this time. The Rising Sun Campground is anticipated to be closed most of the season. Road rehabilitation work on the Going-to-the-Sun that was happening before the fire will continue, and visitors may encounter delays. An alternate to the Going-to-the-Sun Road is U.S. Highway 2 along the southern boundary of the park. Alternate transportation options for traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road include the park’s free shuttle system or concession-operated interpretive tours with Glacier National Park Lodge’s Red Buses or Sun Tours Cultural Tours. Access to trails on the east side of the park along the Going-to-the-Sun Road is limited. All trails within the fire perimeter are closed. The Piegan Pass Trail from Siyeh Bend is open for hiking to the north, but not accessible to the south. The Siyeh Pass Trail is only open to Siyeh Pass, and is closed in the Baring Creek. The Gunsight Pass Trail remains closed from the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Gunsight Pass. Trails accessing St. Mary, Virginia, and Baring Creek Falls are closed. Please check the on-line trail status information at or ask a park ranger at one of the park’s visitor centers. Ranger-led programs are available and listed at The park’s visitor centers are open and hours are as follows: Apgar Visitor Center 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Logan Pass Visitor Center 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. St. Mary Visitor Center 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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