Waterton, Glacier ease restrictions as fires dampen

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Smoke hangs over the high peaks above Lake McDonald Tuesday morning.

With rain and snow finally taming local wildfires, authorities are expanding access to once-threatened areas.

Glacier National Park lifted its evacuation order for private residences in the Lake McDonald Lodge, Lake McDonald Ranger Station and Kelly’s Camp areas Friday evening.

A pre-evacuation warning remains in place, however, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed to all public access from the foot of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass due to ongoing firefighting activities.

Anna Callahan, Public Information Officer for the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, told the Daily Inter Lake on Saturday afternoon that the Sprague Fire is currently about a quarter-mile from the Sun Road at its nearest point. The fire currently occupies 16,790 acres, and “continues to see minimal fire activity, with active edges creeping and smoldering on the forest floor.”

Callahan said that firefighting aircraft remain in the area, but have not been needed in recent days. Management of the fires will transition from a Type 2 to a less-critical Type 3 Incident Management Team Saturday evening.

In Alberta, the Kenow Fire that ravaged Waterton Lakes National Park and threatened the historic Prince of Wales hotel is now classified as “held.” Parks Canada has re-opened Waterton to the public and lifted its fire ban. Camping remains prohibited in the Townsite Campground and the Pass Creek winter campsite.

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