-The Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park grew to 200 acres
–The Gibralter Ridge Fire near Eureka has burned 2,548 acres
-Hot, dry weather continues to bake region
Updated: Aug. 17, 12:15 p.m.
A fire burning in the mountains east of Lake McDonald doubled in size overnight in Glacier National Park.
As of Thursday morning, the Sprague Fire had burned 200 acres, forcing the closure of numerous trails and the historic Sperry Chalet. Firefighters have been working all week to keep the blaze within natural and human-made firebreaks due to steep terrain and a concern for firefighter safety. Officials say it is likely the Sprague Fire will grow in the coming weeks and continue to burn until the first snowfall.
The Sprague Fire is one of dozens of blazes roaring across western Montana.
On the east side of Flathead Lake, the Blue Bay Fire has burned 200 acres, more than doubling in size after a significant uphill run on Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters set back burns this week to try and protect structures and houses in the area.
The Gibralter Ridge Fire near Eureka has burned 2,548 acres as of Thursday morning. Firefighters have ignited back burns to try and reduce the amount of fuel the fire has to burn and it is currently 12 percent contained.
The Ten Lakes Recreation Area and Graves Creek Road from the junction with Stoken Road remain closed. The Gibralter Ridge Fire has become the most expensive blaze in the northwest corner of the state, costing more than $4.4 million through Aug. 16.
The Tamarack Fire west of Kalispell had burned 340 acres as of Thursday morning and the nearby Peoples Fire remains at 77 acres with 90 percent of it contained. Fire managers expect elevated fire activity from the Tamarack Fire as hot and dry conditions continue.
Strict fire restrictions are in place across Western Montana, prohibiting campfires and internal combustion engines without a spark arrestor in the outdoors. Stage II restrictions mean people are prohibited from using motorized vehicles off road; operating any internal combustion engines during certain hours; having a fire of any kind, smoking or using fireworks.
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