Thompson Fire Grows to 1,900 Acres in Glacier National Park

Fire first spotted Sunday afternoon burning roughly 8 miles north of Nyack

By Justin Franz
The Thompson Fire seen from Nyack Flats in Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy of Rachel Jenkins.

Update: Aug 10, 8:00 p.m.

A wildfire burning in a remote section of Glacier National Park has grown to 1,900 acres and forced the closure of several backcountry trails and campgrounds.

The Thompson Fire was reported Sunday afternoon about 8 miles north of Nyack and U.S. Highway 2. It is burning in heavy timber in a remote area, according to the National Park Service. On Monday morning, officials were reporting that the fire had torched 150 acres, but by evening they announced that it has burned 1,900 acres.

At least two helicopters are fighting the fire, but due to the remote and rugged terrain, ground resources are not being sent in to fight the fire. The fire is threatening the Upper Nyack cabin, a historic patrol cabin.

According to the National Park Service, the Gunsight Pass, Otokomi, Coal Creek, Nyack Creek and Cutbank Pass trails are all closed due to wildfire. The Lower Nyack, Upper Nyack, Beaver Woman and Cole Creek backcountry campgrounds are also closed at this time.

The Thompson Fire is visible from U.S. Highway 2 and the west side of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The cause of the fire is unknown. A Type 3 incident management team is fighting the fire.

Firefighting efforts could be complicated this week by stiff winds and numerous thunderstorms. The National Weather Service issued a “Red Flag” warning for all of western Montana on Monday afternoon and predicted strong thunderstorms all week. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 90s until the weekend.

The Thompson Fire is the third major fire in and around Glacier National Park this summer. In June, the Glacier Rim Fire burned 100 acres of land along the North Fork of the Flathead River. Most of the fire was contained to the Flathead National Forest, but spot fires ignited on the west side of the river inside the park.

The largest local fire this summer has been the Reynolds Creek Fire on the east side of the park, which forced the temporary closure of part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. As of Aug. 10, the fire has burned more than 4,300 acres of land and is now 67 percent contained.

There is also a 43-acre fire burning deep inside the Bob Marshall Wilderness, about 35 miles northeast of Swan Lake. The Three Sisters Fire is being allowed to burn, but USFS officials say they will actively suppress it if it threatens any structures.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.