New fire erupts in Glacier; Waterton Lakes National Park closed

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A new 1,200-acre fire, named the Boundary Fire, was reported 1 mile west of Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park at approximately 6:15 p.m. Thursday, prompting the closure of Waterton Lakes National Park Friday morning.

The fire was reported to be fast-growing, with flames up to 100 feet high Thursday night, according to a Glacier Park press release.

A Waterton Lakes National Park release described the fire’s status as “out of control.”

The town of Waterton remained open, as well as Highway 5/6, including the entrance road to the town and Chief Mountain Highway. Visitors were advised that the Evacuation Alert was still in effect.

Parks Canada deployed initial-attack aerial resources, but was unsuccessful in limiting fire growth on the blaze located in the Boundary Creek Valley, near the Campbell Mountain area west of Waterton Lake in northeast Glacier National Park.

Parks Canada and Glacier National Park staff cleared hikers from the area and evacuated the Waterton River Backcountry Campground.

Waterton Lake Trail, the North Boundary Trail and the Waterton River Backcountry Campground were closed, and additional closures were expected Friday.

Parks Canada was installing structure protection at Boundary Bay and Bertha Bay backcountry campgrounds, according to a press release. Parks Canada would also bring in additional structural protection resources to the Waterton townsite if required.

As of 10 a.m., winds had shifted and were blowing from the north. Friday’s weather forecast called for potential rain, increased relative humidity and lower temperatures beginning in the evening.

The park was implementing structure protection measures in the Goat Haunt area.

Managers planned to use air resources to slow the spread of the fire eastward toward Waterton Lake on Friday, as conditions allow.

National Park Service and Parks Canada were closely coordinating efforts, the press release said.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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