Visitor Access Open to Logan Pass as Crews Gain Ground on Reynolds Fire

Fire crews in Glacier National Park turn attention to containment lines on northeast edge of fire

By Beacon Staff
The Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park on July 22, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Update: July 29, 9 a.m.

Access to Logan Pass is available to Glacier National Park visitors for the first time since the Reynolds Creek Fire sparked July 22, and as fire crews continue to gain ground on the blaze and shore up its northeast edge, officials have listed the fire at 56 percent contained.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed on the east side from just beyond the St. Mary Campground to Logan Pass, but beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday visitors could once again travel to the iconic corridor’s high point from the west side.

Visitors should expect delays and congestion along the road.

The St. Mary Campground was also slated to reopen today, and the St. Mary Visitor Center is opened with limited services from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The only campground that remains closed is Rising Sun.

On Tuesday, higher relative humidity aided firefighters even as a warm front pushed into the area later in the afternoon. While the warm trend caused fire behavior to become more active, crews made progress on the northeast edge of the fire while helicopters continued to douse it with water drops.

A red flag warning was issued Wednesday due to lower relative humidity, and officials said pockets of unburned areas have the potential to ignite. Firefighters are preparing for increased fire activity in the afternoon as the temperatures rise and the humidity drops.

Type I Incident Commander Greg Poncin of Kalispell and his team will focus on connecting the containment lines along the northeast side Wednesday, according to officials. Temperatures are expected to return to the 90s in the coming days.

Crews will continue to work along the closed portion of the Sun Road from the St. Mary campground to Logan Pass, cutting hazard trees, chipping brush and extinguishing hot spots.

After improved mapping through infrared flights and GPS, the incident is listed at 3,170 acres. There are 691 personnel battling the blaze. The incident has cost $4.3 million. The cause remains under investigation.

»»» Click here to view a map of the fire.

Crews are still conducting full suppression of the fire with aggressive aerial support, according to Katie Limings, public information officer. Once the blaze is fully contained, the incident management team could let the interior of the fire continue to burn, Limings said.

»»» Click here to view photos from the fire.

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