Tuesday 4 PM update - The fire is doing what was predicted. The fire is not progressing north or east significantly. At the head of the fire on the Blackfeet reservation, it has entered a more sparse fuel type and has stalled out at least temporarily. The fire is at least 6 miles from Hwy 2 at the east end of the fire. Hwy 2 will re-open for two way unescorted traffic by 6 PM tonight. There will be speed restrictions in the area of the fire, and traffic will be stopped near Marias Pass while helicopters are working in that area. The latest acre figure is 16,050 acres. The large jump in acres is due to yesterday's growth, and more accurate mapping. Growth today was minimal, at least at the time of this report.
The fire was active yesterday on all fronts, which was expected. Crews had a control burn out on a 3/4 mile stretch of Hwy 2 north of Skyland road. That, combined with the normal burning put a lot of smoke ito the air. The highway will serve as a fire break in that area. The fire has extended it's reach to Dog Gun Lake on the Black Feet reservations western boundary. Residents along the Heart Butte Cutoff Road between the Two Medicine River and Little Badger Creek were recommended to evacuate by the Blackfeet Disaster Planning Group. They were notified previously of that possiblity.
The fire is about 2 1/2 miles from the Heart Butte Cutoff road. The fire is between one to two miles wide, and roughly 11 miles long from being driven by the wind the last 3 days. It is moving easterly and further away from Hwy 2 and East Glacier. Cooler weather is expected today. This should make fire suppression easier and the fire not as intense. This will allow firefighters to get in closer to the fire and take direct action. The fire was 8,550 acres yesterday morning and is now estimated at over 10,000 acres. This fire is the #1 priority fire in the western US, which makes getting resources easier. More people and equipment are arriving daily.
today, Friday, the eastern side of the park is completely smoked out! The smoke is THICK and nasty! However, it changes throughout the day. The wind shifts and the smoke clears sometimes in minutes. Right now it just happens to be blowing on east glacier and to the north.
The fire will burn until the snow/rain put it out, but it looks to me like we saved all the structures. That could change if the weather changes. East Glacier so far is safe as well.
We left out Wed. and the whole 4 day trip was affected by smoke from the fire. The only really blue sky we saw was Wed. morning at Many Glaciers when cool weather, wind and clouds cleared the sky. I finally get good shooting conditions but had to leave, just my luck! It's not just Glacier that's affected though. We never really got out of the smoke haze until well into Idaho.
The fire grew yesterday, with 40mph winds. the smoke and ash is horrible. the fire is not in the park, but it's causing a bit of trouble. also, the fires on the west side are helping to add to the smoke problem. mostly the smoke settles in in the morning and evening. here's an afternoon shot of east glacier park and the fire. The first shot was at about 5 or so, the second was just a couple hours later and taken looking west instead of south east. the fire is NOT in the park, but the smoke rolling in from the west side combined with the clouds made it interesting. . .
the smoke is not too bad at times on the east side. if we have a south west wind, things are fine even though the fire is only a few miles away. if we get a south east or southerly wind, it rains ash on the east glacier park and the east side, like it did last night. . . This shot was taken looking north west from east glacier up the lawn of the lodge. WB was set to daylight so that the colors would be accurate. this was at about 7:30 pm. . .
Quote: ... Two is get ready, and three is get the heck out now!...
And it is never convenient. We live in a regular bushfire area, nothing close to us the last couple of years. Before that we had to follow the evacuation order three times over three years. Never super-prepared somehow: just got all the pets, computer and some paper-work into the cars, chickens and bunnies in boxes on a trailer, and 'camped' with distant family for a few days. Luckily never lost anything, once had the fire on the fenceline just a few yards from the house but the wind changed in our favour.
I hope it doesn't come closer to you Tony, it really is distressing, the climate change problems are bad enough without all this loss of habitat and pressure on the wildlife.