News & Features

Glacier Rim Fire Doubles in Size in the North Fork

Forest Service officials estimate the fire has grown to 60-80 acres amid hot, dry conditions

Update: June 28, 9:15 p.m.

The Glacier Rim Fire doubled in size on Sunday as crews battled hot, dry conditions and rugged terrain.

The fire, burning actively in timber along the North Fork of the Flathead River near Glacier National Park, has grown to 60-80 acres and is 25 percent contained, according to Ema Braunberger, public affairs officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

A Type III incident management team has taken over and multiple resources are being ordered from across the region.

Crews are having trouble accessing one side of the fire due to snags and rugged terrain, Braunberger said.

Temperatures on Sunday hit 102 degrees in Kalispell, an all-time record high for the month of June.

Potentially troublesome weather is in the forecast with blistering temperatures expected to continue along with thunderstorms and 50 mph winds.

The North Fork Road remains open but law enforcement is keeping travelers from stopping. Bulletin boards are set up on both sides of the fire with updated information and a public information line has been established at 406-387-3867.

The fire started shortly after noon on Saturday and grew from less than an acre to more than 30 acres in a matter of hours. The fire forced the closure of the North Fork Road about 11 miles north of Columbia Falls, but today the road has been reopened.

Braunberger said that at least 50 firefighters were on site early Sunday morning and that more were on the way. She said firefighters hoped to build a firebreak around the entire fire before record-breaking temperatures arrived.

Before today, Saturday was the hottest June day on record in Kalispell with the mercury hitting 97 degrees.

“We’re getting on top of stuff right way because we don’t want this fire going anywhere,” Braunberger said.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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