Howe Ridge fire holds steady, evacuations remain in place

Posted at 9:08 AM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 11:08:44-04

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – There was little new growth seen on the Howe Ridge fire that’s burning on the west side of Glacier National Park. The blaze has held steady after growing from 4,100 acres to an estimated 7,800 acres.

However, a weather system in the area will produce erratic winds and is expected to impact fire behavior on Monday. The system is predicted to bring slightly cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity, as well as possible showers and thunderstorms.

Firefighters are still working to secure the southwestern flank of the fire along the edge of the Inside North Fork Road. 

Crews will also continue to implement structure protection in the Fish Creek Campground area with the use of sprinkler systems, while utilizing hotshot crews to create and secure containment lines.

On the northeastern flank, north of Lake McDonald, firefighters are using pumps and hose lays to aid in suppression efforts and limit fire spread towards the Going-to-the-Sun Road, while also patrolling to protect structures and suppress any new fire activity.

The fire forced an evacuation order on Sunday for all campers, NPS employees, the Fish Creek Ranger Station and the Fish Creek Campground. Park officials also note that the Fish Creek Campground Road is closed from the Camas Road junction.

An Evacuation Warning remains in effect from the Quarter Circle Bridge Road north, including Apgar, the Grist Road, and all areas accessed from Quarter Circle Bridge Road. An Evacuation Warning means people need to be ready to leave but are not being evacuated at this time.

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. 

The Howe Ridge fire has been  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.

A recorded fire update can be found at (406) 888-7077. 

A Type 1 Incident Management Team which is based at the West Glacier KOA took over at the fire scene on Friday.