The Howe Ridge Fire burning in Glacier National Park has swept through several campgrounds and destroyed numerous historic cabins and other structures.

Fire Information Officer Diane Sine said the fire was one of three that were started by lightning on Saturday night.

“The fire that we’re really concentrating on right now is the Howe Ridge Fire, one of three that started by lightning over the weekend,” said Sine. “The two smaller fires have crews on them and they seem to be under control. The largest of the three is the Howe Ridge Fire, and it’s currently estimated at about 2,500 acres and that’s based on an infrared over flight that we had last night.”

Sine said the fire drew national attention on Sunday evening.

“We had extreme fire behavior and things changed very quickly,” she said. “Of course, we are heartbroken that there were a number of summer residences that were lost in that big fire on Sunday evening. There were also a number of summer residences that were lost in the Kelly’s Camp area at the far end of Lake McDonald. Also, part of the Wheeler Complex at the head of Lake McDonald was also destroyed in that fire on Sunday evening.”

Sine said crews are actively fighting the fire with a combination of resources.

“We’re fighting it both on the ground and with aerial resources, so far we have about 60 people on the ground, and that will increase dramatically when we get a Type One Incident Management Team on the scene. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday) and they’ll be taking over later in the week.”

Evacuations are in effect for Lake McDonald Lodge, North Lake McDonald Road, and the Avalanche and Sprague Campgrounds. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. Due to the ongoing fire issues in the park the hours of the Logan Pass Visitor Center have changed to 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.

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