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Glacier National Park Fire Update: Fire Forcing New Evacuations, Has Doubled in size

( [email protected] ) Jul 23, 2015 04:06 PM EDT
Every year, many visit Glacier National Park, located in Montana on the United States/Canada border.  It features two sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains with 130 lakes, and it is a region of protected land that encompasses 16,000 square miles.  Sadly, a recent fire has broken out that endangers the tourists as well as all the life there, and this is the most recent Glacier National Park Fire news update.
It has doubled in size. Instagram

Every year, many visit Glacier National Park, located in Montana on the United States/Canada border.  It features two sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains with 130 lakes, and it is a region of protected land that encompasses 16,000 square miles.  Sadly, a recent fire has broken out that endangers the tourists as well as all the life there, and this is the most recent Glacier National Park Fire news update. 

According to CNN, park officials report that the fire in Glacier National Park in Montana has doubled in size to 4,000 acres, forcing new evacuations.  The speed of the fire is the result of dry, heavy timber with an extreme spread potential, as there is extreme windy conditions in this fire behavior. 

The Reynolds Creek Wildland Fire started Tuesday afternoon near Grizzly Point on the east side of the park, which is located Wednesday about 10 miles from the St. Mary Visitor Center along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and moving northwest.  The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a two lane road that carries thousands of vehicles on peak days in July and August, and has been shut down for 21 of its 50 miles. 

ABC News reports that this fast-moving wildfire has torched a car and a historic Baring Creek Cabin, forcing tourists to abandon their vehicles on the park's most popular roadway mentioned earlier, and officials are evacuating hotels, campgrounds, and homes.  The 72-room Rising Sun Motor Inn and nearby campground of 84 spots has been evacuated. 

There is a report of a family from Missouri who took a video of the fire on the historical road, and found themselves trapped.  Lakota Duncan told the Associated Press "as soon as we started driving, it just exploded".  Duncan's father drove at high speed to evade the flames, and they were recording the entire time. 

The fire is raging down the ridge toward the small St. Mary community and campground at the park's eastern entrance with the homes along the lakeshore.  The fire is also extending to Washington state, which is had bad fire conditions with the drought.  So far, the wildfire has burned one home and 6 square miles of the southeastern part of the state. 

Glacier National Park is in its peak season for tourism and this fire had disrupted a lot of plans for the visitors and has sent plumes of smoke into the sky, according to USA Today.  Andy Huntsberger, the incident commander of the team fighting the blaze, says that "it will be a difficult fire, but I would say many fires in the northern Rockies are different because of fuels". 

Reports from Wednesday evening reveal that the fire at Glacier National Park had grown from 2,000 to 4,000 acres, more than 6 square miles, and burning west to east.  About 15 engines and four 20-person crews were on the fire Wednesday, along with two helicopters that dropped water from buckets filled from the St. Mary Lake on the flames. 

So far, the cause of the fire is being investigated, but it is believed to be man-made.