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Gusty Winds, Warm Temps Could Fan Flames Across Region

National Weather Service issues fire weather watch for Labor Day Weekend

The Latest

-Sprague Fire destroys historic chalet in Glacier Park

Fire weather watch issued for Sunday and Monday

-Public meeting scheduled for fires on Kootenai National Forest

Updated: Sept. 1, 5:35 p.m.

Gusty winds, low humidity and warm temperatures will lead to increased fire danger this weekend as an already devastating fire season in western Montana roars into autumn.

The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a “fire weather watch” for Sunday and Monday for the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park. Gusts of 20 and 30 miles per hour are expected for Sunday evening, which could fan the flames of a number of large fires burning across the region.

In Glacier National Park, the Sprague Fire has burned 4,646 acres east of Lake McDonald, destroying the historic Sperry Chalet and forcing the closure of the Lake McDonald Lodge. On Friday afternoon, at least three helicopters were working at Lake McDonald on what officials called “another active day on the fire.”

Two large fires are currently burning on the Kootenai National Forest. The Gibralter Ridge Fire has burned more than 6,500 acres east of Eureka and is now 27 percent contained. The Caribou Fire has burned 4,818 acres 21 miles northwest of Eureka and crossed into Canada earlier this week. A public meeting about the Caribou Fire is scheduled for Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Kootenai Store in Rexford.

Firefighters were monitoring at least four large fires on the Flathead National Forest. The Scalp Fire has burned at least 2,225 acres near Bow Mountain in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The Strawberry Mountain has torched nearly 750 acres 8 miles southeast of Swift Reservoir. The Reef Fire has burned 646 acres near Count Peak. And the Dolly Varden Fire has burned 185 acres in the Great Bear Wilderness.