Reynolds Creek Fire Erupts in Glacier National Park
Last month, we wrote about a fire that was threatening Glacier National Park. That fire, the Glacier Rim Fire, covered only about 100 acres before being extinguished in a timely manner, and no damage was done to the park itself. The park is not so lucky this time around, as yesterday afternoon, the Reynolds Creek Fire exploded into a 1,000-plus acre blaze in just over five hours.
The Reynolds Creek fire was first reported Tuesday near Grizzly Point, about 6 miles east of Logan Pass. Park shuttle drivers first noticed the flames at approximately 3:45PM, and at that time, the blaze was covering just about 2 acres of park land. However by 9:00 last night, the Reynolds Creek Fire had reached over 1,000 acres of land within Glacier National Park as it continued to burn along a vast area of heavy timber along Going-to-the-Sun Road.
In the wake of the destruction, authorities put a Type II crisis management team together, and park rangers began evacuating surrounding areas, and searching for any people that may have been in the area when the fire started.
At this time, fortunately, no fatalities or injuries have been reported and no structures have been reported as destroyed, although one car was consumed by the blaze. Additionally, many people were separated from their vehicles when the fire began, and authorities are working to help these visitors locate their cars.
Currently, the cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation while fire crews work around the clock to combat the huge fire.
So far, evacuations have taken place at the Rising Sun Campground, St. Mary Campground (one of the park’s largest campgrounds) and the Rising Sun Motor Inn. Additionally, a large stretch of Going-to-the-Sun Road, and a vast area around St. Mary has been closed off. A temporary flight restriction has also been put in place, putting a hold on air travel in the vicinity of the park. There is no word yet on when all of these locations will reopen, as firefighters continue to try and contain the fire.
With high winds throughout the day on Wednesday, and expected to continue into the weekend, spreading of the fire seems very likely. Park officials are recommending that tourists stay away from problem areas and remain cognizant of the hazards posed throughout the park, including air quality, and of course, the possibility of the fire growing in size.
With 21 of the 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun road closed, moving around the park will be difficult, even for those brave enough to visit with the fire raging. However, with dry, windy weather expected throughout the area, it might be best to stay away for awhile and let the Reynolds Creek Fire run its course. Hopefully, that course will not inflict too much damage in the area.
For updates on the Reynolds Creek Fire, you should follow Glacier National Park on Twitter.