Sun Road night closure lifted

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This map released Tuesday evening, Aug. 11, shows the perimeter of the Thompson Fire in Glacier National Park after it exploded to 11,400 acres on Tuesday.

The night closure on the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park has been lifted. The entire 52 miles of Sun Road are open to vehicles.   

Visitors will not be able to stop or park along the road in the Reynolds Creek Fire area on the east side of Sun Road and are reminded to drive cautiously, according to a news release from Glacier Park.

Night traffic had been prohibited since the road east of Logan Pass reopened to motorists on Friday. It had been closed since the fire started on July 21 and burned a long stretch north of St. Mary Lake.

Firefighters and equipment will continue to be staged along the road where the 4,311-acre fire burned. Firefighters continue to mop up, patrol and monitor the fire. Two 20-person crews, three engines and one helicopter are assigned to the fire.  

Smoke may be visible and may reduce visibility at times, so visitors are required to drive slowly within the fire area. 

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 hazardous trees have been removed from along the road. Anyone who sees or encounters debris or fallen trees on the road should report it to a ranger or the closest visitor center.

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 are at Rising Sun, Jackson Glacier Overlook and Siyeh Bend.

Bicycle travel is now permitted on the east side of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The Glacier Boat Co. is offering daily boat tours at Rising Sun. The Rising Sun Camp Store operated by Glacier National Park Lodges is open 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.

Rising Sun Campground is expected to be closed most of the season.

The Gunsight Pass Trail and the Gunsight Lake Backcountry Campground are open. 

The St. Mary Lake Trail and access to St Mary, Virginia and Baring Falls remain closed. The Otokomi Lake Trail also is closed, as are all trails within the fire perimeter are closed. 

Check the online trail status information at www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm or ask a park ranger at one of the park’s visitor centers.

Road rehabilitation work on the Going-to-the-Sun is ongoing, and visitors may encounter delays. 

For more information about Glacier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm.

Meanwhile, the Thompson Fire added 3,500 acres as it continued to burn in the remote Nyack area of Glacier Park.

Hot, dry winds fanned the fire to an estimated 14,900 acres by Wednesday evening.

Aerial firefighting efforts continued Wednesday on the fire, which had blown up on Tuesday and expanded by almost 10,000 acres.

Park spokeswoman Katie Liming said the fire is burning through heavy timber.  

Liming says fire crews have structure protection in place on the Lower Nyack Cabin, but it wasn’t safe for firefighters to get to the Upper Nyack Cabin. Several trails and campgrounds in the area are closed by the fire that began on Sunday.

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