At over 12,400 acres, the Howe Ridge Fire burning in Glacier National Park is still the largest wildfire in Montana. It crossed the 10,000 acre mark last Wednesday, but Fire Information Officer Austin Gonzagowski says recent changes in the weather have slowed it down.

“A cold front came in recently and that brought some showers,” Gonzagowski said. “Fire fighters have been able to take advantage of the wetter conditions. The cooler temperature obviously raises the relative humidity. It gives us a break and a reprieve. Fire fighters are able to reinforce some of our containment lines and of course that rainfall will also moderate fire activity.”

Though there has been snow up high in Glacier recently, the snow hasn’t yet hit the fire. The change in the weather has prompted some changes in park evacuations though.

“The Going-to-the-Sun road will remain closed while we have crews on that north end of Lake McDonald,” Gonzagowski said. “They have lifted certain evacuation warnings for the Apgar area and Grist roads. Spruce Creek Campground still remains closed as well as the Fish Creek Campground road, primarily for fire fighter and public safety while we are working in that area.”

Most of Montana’s largest fires this year are in the Northwest portion of the state: the Davis Fire, which crossed the Canadian Border is over 6,500 acres and Gold Hill Fire north of Libby is at over 4,000 acres. In Southwest Montana the Goldstone Fire is at over 9,000 acres, it is burning east of Salmon, Idaho near Bloody Dick Creek in the Beaverhead Range.


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