Quick-moving Glacier National Park fire grows, forces evacuations

Story highlights

  • The fire at Glacier National Park has doubled in size to 4,000 acres
  • Part of the park's popular Going-to-the-Sun Road is shut down to allow for firefighting

(CNN)The fire in Glacier National Park in Montana has doubled in size to 4,000 acres and forced new evacuations, according to park officials.

"The fire is moving quickly in dry, heavy timber with extreme spread potential," the park service said in a press release. "Due to windy conditions and extreme fire behavior, today's suppression actions were limited to aerial water drops and some on-the-ground crew work."
The Reynolds Creek Wildland Fire, which started Tuesday afternoon near Grizzly Point on the east side of the park, was located Wednesday about 10 miles from the St. Mary Visitor Center along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and moving in a northwest direction.
    Several backpackers in the vicinity of the fire were located and escorted to safety. Park rangers and firefighting personnel will keep searching for backcountry hikers in the area.

    A photo posted by Cheyenne (@cheystirling) on

    A photo posted by Megan Baumann (@megnbaumann) on

    On Wednesday, the park service said evacuations have been ordered on the west side of St. Mary Lake and evacuations on the east side are expected.
    The St. Mary Visitor Center closed at noon Wednesday so it could be used as a fire staging area. The St. Mary Campground, which has about 148 sites, was evacuated Wednesday, park officials said.
    The Rising Sun Motor Inn, operated by Glacier National Park Lodges, and the Rising Sun Campground were both evacuated Tuesday night.
    The historic Bering Creek Cabin has been lost to fire. No other structures were reported damaged.
    On Wednesday, visitors were allowed to retrieve vehicles left along the Going-to-the-Sun Road because of the fire. One vehicle was destroyed by fire.
    The Going-to-the-Sun Road between the St. Mary entrance on the east side and Big Bend in the central part of the park has been closed. The road is 50 miles long and 28 miles between the West Entrance and Big Bend are open.
    The Inside North Fork Road is closed at Logging Creek and Fish Creek.