Howe Ridge fire explodes, more evacuations orders issued

Posted at 10:45 AM, Aug 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-19 12:45:05-04

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – The Howe Ridge fire burning on the west side of Glacier National Park exploded om Saturday growing from 4,100 acres to an estimated 7,800 acres.

The recent fire activity combined with predicted weather has prompted Park officials to issue an additional evacuation and a new evacuation warning.

The Fish Creek Campground, including all campers, NPS employees, and the Fish Creek Ranger Station residence while the Fish Creek Campground Road is closed from the Camas Road junction.

Mobile viewers click here to view a photo gallery from the Howe Creek fire.

An evacuation warning has been issued from the Quarter Circle Bridge Road north, including Apgar, the Grist Road, and all areas accessed from Quarter Circle Bridge Road.

Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley says that people must leave Fish Creek. People in the Apgar or areas accessed from the Quarter Circle Bridge Road area need to be ready to leave if the conditions worsen.

Crews are working around structures in the Fish Creek Campground area and along the Inside North Fork Road to reduce fuels and to set up sprinkler systems. 

Meanwhile, structure protection efforts continue along the north end of Lake McDonald, using sprinkler systems around the remaining structures on North Lake McDonald Road.

Crews are also installing hoses and sprinklers to minimize potential fire spread towards the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Fire.

The Howe Ridge fire is active on the southern and southwestern flanks of the fire with backing and flanking fire. In the evening and overnight, the fire was driven by down-valley winds in heavy dead fuels, primarily from the 2003 Robert Fire.


  • The Fish Creek Campground area
  • North Lake McDonald road (private residences and the Lake McDonald Ranger Station)
  • Lake McDonald Lodge area (all businesses, employees, and private residences), private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Sprague Creek Campground
  • Avalanche Campground

Road and Trail Closures: 

  • The Going-to-the-Sun Road between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass.
  • The Inside North Fork Road
  • The Fish Creek Road
  •  Multiple trail closures are associated with this fire
  • All trails off of the Camas Road are closed. 

Glacier National Park and most of western Montana are under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No campfires will be permitted in Glacier’s frontcountry or backcountry. Smoking is also prohibited except within an enclosed building, vehicle, developed recreation area, or barren area three feet in diameter.

Fire information phone options have changed. For a recorded fire update, call (406) 888-7077. For Glacier National Park trip planning information, visit or call (406) 888-7800.

A community meeting will be held on Sunday, August 19th at 6 p.m. at the Sonderson Community Hall in the North Fork area. Fire personnel will present management plans for Whale Butte, Howe Ridge, Coal Ridge, and Paola Ridge fires.

 A decision was made on Friday by Glacier National Park Lodges to close Lake McDonald Lodge for the rest of the 2018 summer season. Questions about adjustments to reservations should be directed to 855-733-4522. The privately owned Motel Lake McDonald has also closed for the season. Reservation holders should contact 1-844-868-7474. 

A Type 1 Incident Management Team which is based at the West Glacier KOA took over at the fire scene on Friday. There are now 126 people battling the Howe Ridge fire.