The Howe Ridge & Boundary Fires Update: September 11

By | September 11, 2018

From Bill Walker…

Weather: A cold front will continue to move into the area, with increased clouds and a trend towards cooler temperatures in the mid 50s – 60s. Southwesterly winds will be 6-10 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph. Relative humidity will increase with a potential high of 43%. There is a 10% chance of light showers later in the afternoon and some possibility of a thunderstorm.

Howe Ridge Statistics
Location:  NW side of Lake McDonald
Start date: August 11, 2018
Size: 14,224 ac. Containment: 20%
Cause: Lightning Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $11.3 Million
Structures Lost

Residence: 13

Minor Structures: 14


Crews:  2 Engines: 5
Personnel: 158

Howe Ridge:

As expected, fire was most active yesterday on the north, driven northwest by strong winds up Camas Ridge towards Dutch Lake. Minimal rain fell on the fire, so thick lodgepole pine and heavy dead and down fuels remain dry and available to burn. This area of the fire does not present any current threat to values at risk.

Today, fire behavior and movement should remain minimal, except for on the northwest perimeter. This area may see some growth over Camas Ridge to the north and east towards Trout Lake. This area will continue to put up significant smoke due to the presence of downed heavy fuels. Firefighters will mitigate hazard trees in the Kelly Camp area using mechanized equipment and patrol the area of fire backing down below Mount Vaught. The cedar hemlock forest on the flats below this area has up to two feet of duff on the ground that will hold fire and smolder until the snow flies.

Boundary Statistics
Location:  Boundary Creek
Start date: August 23, 2018
Size: 2,910  ac. estimated

Containment: 14%

Cause: Unknown Injuries: 0
Estimated cost: $556,000
Crews1 Personnel: 20


Although high winds were experienced on the Boundary Fire yesterday, fire growth was minimal. Crews could not safely be on the ground, but three Canadian helicopters were able to fly and deliver copious amounts of water to the eastern perimeter of the fire.

Today, crews will monitor the east side of the fire, extend hose lays and mop up in quieter areas. Helicopters will continue with water drops as needed if a low ceiling of clouds does not keep them on the ground. The Boundary Fire is being held on the eastern perimeter at an avalanche chute; the majority of the smoke and fire activity is interior.


The majority of Glacier National Park is open. Open areas include Apgar, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and the North Fork. The Howe Ridge fire is burning in less than 1% of Glacier’s 1 million acres. The temporary closure area for public safety and fire suppression access is approximately 93,500 acres, or less than 10% of the park.


Evacuation orders are in place for North Lake McDonald Road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station), Lake McDonald Lodge area (all businesses, employees, and private residences), and private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Closed campgrounds include Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek.Closures:

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open on the eastern section for 18 miles between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It is closed to private vehicles on the western section for 30 miles between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. The North Lake McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed.

Currently, private vehicles are not allowed in the closure. Visitors can ride the Park shuttle system from the Apgar Visitor Center Shuttle Stop to Logan Pass, with no stops. Free Park shuttle passes from Apgar Visitor Center are required. For more information go to For reservations visit for Red Bus Tours or for Sun Tours.

The Inside North Fork Road is closed from Fish Creek to Logging Creek. Trail closures are associated with this fire; full trail closures are reflected on the park’s website at:

Additional closures in Waterton Lakes National Park were put into place on Friday, September 7, due to the spread of the Boundary Fire. These new closures include the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lake Shore Trail, the Bertha Lake Backcountry Campground, and the Bertha Bay Backcountry Campground. On the evening of September 10, Parks Canada closed the Bison Paddock overlook, to facilitate helicopter operations.

Aircraft Assigned:

All aircraft are shared among the fires within Glacier National Park and the Flathead National Forest being managed by Mike Goicoechea’s Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team. Two Type 1, one Type 2 and three Type 3 helicopters are currently assigned to the incident. To date, $2.3 million dollars have been spent on air operations, delivering 3 million gallons of water, for a cost of $.78/gallon.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over both the Howe Ridge and Boundary fires. Drones can shut down critical fire operations, and launching, landing or operating drones is prohibited in Glacier National Park.

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About NFNews Editor

Patti Hart is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Patti lives on the North Fork during the summers and travels the world for the rest of the year, updating NFNews every day wherever there is an internet connection.

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