Labor Day-Fire Day

It is Labor Day. Our faithful firefighters are working hard to contain the maelstrom of flame and smoke that is Montana today.  The fires burn fiercely, and grow rapidly.  Road closures, evacuations are today’s story, not end-of-summer barbecues, one last camp out, a quick day trip somewhere.

If you were thinking day trip…Glacier Park is closed from the south end of Lake McDonald to Logan Pass. Going to the Sun is open on the east side, but closed on the west.  They are removing artifacts from Lake McDonald Lodge and working to keep the lodge safe.  We lost Sperry Chalet last week, and don’t want to lose Lake McDonald Lodge this week.  These historic lodges were built by the railroad when Glacier was being developed as a destination park. The railroad did most of the development and the historic lodges.

If you CAN think of something to do, from the comfort of your home…you are fortunate.  There are evacuation orders on

1. the Caribou fire near Eureka, MT.  We have shared this one with our Canadian neighbors.

2. The Hwy 200 Complex (includes the Alice Creek fires) The Alice Creek fire continues the wreak havoc in the Lincoln area.  If you live here, you may remember that in early July Lincoln was the epicenter of a 5.8 earthquake. Western Montana felt the shocks and some of the after shocks. Lincoln continued to feel after shocks. Then forest fires started near Lincoln. They were some of the first reported.  Parts of Hwy 200, including Roger’s pass are closed.

3. The Little Hogback: Upper Rock Creek Road is affected by this one. Upper Rock Creek is beautiful.

4. Lolo Peak fire.  Lolo Peak is usually visible from Missoula. It stands watch over the south west part of Missoula County. there have been enough evacuations because of this fire on both Hwy 12 and Hwy 93 corridors that it is easy to lose track.

5. Rice Ridge Fire forced most of the town of Seeley Lake to evacuate.  It had a busy night last night. When I posted my Inciweb report to Facebook around midnight, it was 52, 894 acres. This morning, it was 101,424 acres. It blew up 48, 530 acres overnight. The residents of Seeley Lake are not spending Labor Day on the Lake. They are at shelters and motels all around the area. They are desperately worried about their homes, their families.  It is not a nice Labor Day weekend for them.  That is true of everyone that has been evacuated by any of these fires.  My heart goes out to each and every one of them. New evacuees were added from the Cooper’s Lake area of this fire. They live in Powell County.

6. Sprague Fire is responsible for the west end of Glacier closing. The Going to the Sun is closed, camp grounds are closed, tours canceled.  It seems trivial, but I feel so badly for all of the residents of the area, but I also feel badly for the tourists. They planned for this trip months in advance. They came from a long way away, and then it all get canceled.  They do get to go home to a safe, fire free home, but I always feel badly when people are disappointed. In my job, I will see them, hear about their trips…

This fire season took me by surprise.  I find I have trouble remembering past seasons, so am creating memories of this one, for future reference. This post is longer than I expected it to be.  A couple of photos to close it out. One of them is today’s view of the photo I posted yesterday.





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