Fueled by high winds and dry conditions, a wildfire is working through heavy timber on the east side of Glacier National Park as firefighters and helicopters scramble to contain the fire that is moving northeast along St. Mary Lake and near Going-to-the-Sun Road, reports flatheadbeacon.com.
Roughly 200 personnel and six helicopters are battling the Reynolds Creek Fire, which is burning in a dense, rugged section of forest plagued by beetle kill and a region afflicted with drought conditions. The fire is not contained and remains at 4,000 acres, according to the last estimates from Thursday morning.
A red flag warning was issued Thursday for potentially dangerous weather conditions and extreme fire behavior. Forecasters predicted 20-30 mph wind gusts and low humidity that could cause the wildfire to quickly spread. Relief could arrive this weekend as cool, wet weather sweeps across Northwest Montana, including the high country in Glacier Park.
Firefighters are performing direct suppression tactics on the southwest section of the fire where it’s possible. Helicopters are dropping water on the northeast portion.
Structures in the St. Mary area are identified as potentially threatened, according to fire information officers. Evacuations were ordered throughout the St. Mary Valley on Wednesday and hundreds of residents and tourists fled the area.
A Type I incident management team, the nation’s preeminent interagency resource for battling wildfires, is preparing to assume command of the fire that has scorched 6 square miles.
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