Small fires pop up on Glacier’s east side

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Trail closures at Glacier National Park as of Saturday afternoon. (GNP graphic)

Fire resources continued to attack a number of small fires burning in Glacier National Park on Saturday. The fires were sparked by a violent wind and lightning storm that hit the area on Thursday evening.

Aerial resources and fire crews were working on the Sprague, Howe Lake and Rogers fires on the west side of the park. The Sprague fire was estimated at 10 acres on Friday.

New fires being assessed on the east side of the park included a small fire visible from the Going-to-the Sun Road near Siyeh Bend, and on Elk Mountain in the southeast area of the park. Both of these fires were estimated to be less than a tenth of an acre in size, and are in rocky areas with little potential for spread.

A red flag warning was issued for the area through Sunday evening. Strong winds and possible thunderstorms were predicted. Due to extremely dry conditions, potential for new starts and fire growth is high.

Additional fire personnel are staged on both sides of the park to respond to any new fires, the park noted in a press release Saturday.

Trail closures have been lifted in some areas of the park. The Apgar Lookout Trail has been reopened, as has the Johns Lake area trails.

Closures remain in effect for the Howe Ridge Trail, Camas Trail, Trout Lake Trail, the Sperry Trail from Lake McDonald to Gunsight Pass (including all secondary trails such as the Snyder Lake Trail), and the Lincoln Lake Trail. The Inside North Fork Road is also closed to vehicles from Fish Creek to Logging Lake.

Backcountry campgrounds in these areas are also closed. Other backcountry areas in the park are still open for day use. No new overnight backcountry permits are being issued in order to reduce the number of people overnighting in the backcountry while the park remains in extreme fire danger. Individuals with current backcountry permits for areas not impacted by fires are not being asked to leave.

Sperry Chalet remains closed. The structures in the Sperry Chalet complex are not immediately threatened, however the Sprague fire has necessitated the closure of the main trail that accesses the chalet, the park said in a press release Saturday. As of Friday, no overnight guests remain at Sperry Chalet.

Most areas of the park are open.

Check the park website for updated trail and road information at http://bit.ly/2uAE96d

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