Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park Grows to 1,100 acres

Fire burning in steep terrain east of Lake McDonald grew by nearly 600 acres on Saturday

By Tristan Scott
The Sprague Fire burns east of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park on Aug. 11, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Burning in the mountains east of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, the Sprague Fire grew to more than 1,100 acres on Aug. 19 as firefighters worked to protect historic structures in the path of the blaze.

The fire’s growth was updated Sunday morning after crews mapped its perimeter during an infrared flight Saturday night.

Firefighters are stationed at Sperry Chalet, where structure protection measures are in place, including a water pump and hose system that draws water from a nearby pond, and sprinklers that will be used if the fire reaches the chalet area.

Given the location of the chalet in a rocky, subalpine environment with sparse vegetation, fire managers are confident that the structure protection measures in place will protect the historic buildings, according to park officials.

The nearby Mount Brown Lookout has been wrapped with material to protect it from heat and embers. Firefighters have also installed sprinklers to protect the Crystal Ford footbridge and to slow the fire’s western progression.

The fire has spread to the south across the Sprague Creek drainage and is moving up Lincoln Ridge between the Sprague and Lincoln creek drainages. Fire growth is expected to be limited on Lincoln ridge as the fire burns into rocky areas with limited vegetation, officials said.

The Sprague Fire is also active in the Snyder Creek drainage. A helicopter is assigned to the fire and will be used to cool hot spots and slow fire growth in this drainage.

A Type III Incident Management Team is managing the fire.

Most areas of the park are open including all areas of the North Fork, Apgar Village, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Granite Park Chalet, Two Medicine, St. Mary, Many Glacier and Goat Haunt. Please check the park website for updated trail and road information at http://bit.ly/2uAE96d

Closures remain in place for the Gunsight Pass Trail from Lake McDonald to Gunsight Pass, including all secondary trails. Some backcountry campgrounds are closed due to fire activity. All frontcountry campgrounds remain open.

Check https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hikingthetrails.htm for updated status.

A fire information line will be staffed 8am-8pm Please call 406-888-7077 if you have questions about the fire and how it might impact your visit.