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Waterton Park Evacuates, Glacier Park Temporarily Suspends Backcountry Permit Issuance

Extreme fire behavior and lightning storms predicted this weekend

Firefighters set up sprinklers on Trail of the Cedars as a precautionary measure. (NPS Photo)
Firefighters set up sprinklers on Trail of the Cedars as a precautionary measure. (NPS Photo)

WEST GLACIER, MT. – No new overnight backcountry permits are being issued at this time due to developing critical fire weather conditions.

Isolated dry thunderstorms are possible tonight and Saturday, followed by gusty winds Saturday afternoon into Sunday associated with a cold front passage.

The park is currently fighting three large fires and is preparing for the potential of a fourth, the Kenow Fire coming down from Canada near Goat Haunt.

There are no backcountry evacuations at this time, and there is no immediate threat at this time to backcountry users.

Rain for Rent set up along Snyder Creek in the Lake McDonald Lodge area on 9/8/2017 (NPS Photo)
Rain for Rent set up along Snyder Creek in the Lake McDonald Lodge area on 9/8/2017 (NPS Photo)

The intent of this action is to reduce the number of people overnighting in the backcountry. In the event of a new fire start or rapid growth of existing fires, the park has significantly fewer resources available, due to ongoing fire operations, to assist a large number of people out of the backcountry.

The duration that no new overnight backcountry permits will be issued is unknown due to ongoing dry conditions, extremely high fire behavior, and the extended fire season outlook.

Elder Creek Fire lies on the Montana and British Columbia border, and started on the Canadian side on September 2nd. It is currently 2,055 acres, with 260 acres on the US side. Firefighters have begun implementing structure protection around the Kishenehn Patrol Cabin and surrounding areas.

The Kenow Fire burning in Canada could potentially impact Waterton Lakes National Park and northern portions of Glacier National Park.  As a precaution, firefighters have started on some structure protection in the Goat Haunt area of Glacier National Park.

Due to these fires, trail and road closures change frequently. Please check the park’s website to monitor trail and road closure status. https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

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