Glacier National Park Howe Ridge Fire: Historic Structures Destroyed in Blaze

glacier national park
A park employee surveying the Howe Ridge Fire the afternoon after it started on the night of August 11. GlacierNPS/Flickr

On Saturday evening, another wildfire joined the list of hundreds that have burned this summer season across the United States.

The Howe Ridge fire burning in Montana's Glacier National Park started after a lightning strike ignited a fire on the ridge and windy and dry conditions helped spread the flames the following day. As of Tuesday, the fire was burning across more than 2,500 acres, and crews were working to keep it from spreading.

Saturday's lightning actually started several fires in the park, which resulted in the closure of the Numa Lookout trail, the Trout Lake trail, Howe Ridge and Howe Lake trails, according to the National Park Service.

glacier national park howe ridge fire 2018
The Howe Ridge Fire seen from across Lake McDonald on the night of August 12, roughly 24 hours after the fire was started by a lightning strike in an area previously burned in the 2003 Roberts Fire. GlacierNPS/Flickr

Sunday night, the Howe Ridge fire made significant advancement. Those flames ended up spreading so far that evacuations were ordered for North Lake McDonald Road, Lake McDonald Lodge Complex, Avalanche and Sprague Campgrounds and some of the surrounding areas, according to the NPS.

Buildings were lost to the fire, including seven private summer homes near North Lake and McDonald Road. Some of the historic buildings in the park, like some of those in Kelly's Camp, were lost. Kelly's Camp was a cabin resort that was established around the same time as the park was in the 1800s near the north end of Lake McDonald.

"We've lost extremely important historic buildings that tell a piece of the park's story, and multiple people have lost homes that have welcomed their families to the shores of Lake McDonald for generations," said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow, according to a release from the NPS.

glacier national park
A park employee surveying the Howe Ridge Fire the afternoon after it started on the night of August 11. GlacierNPS/Flickr

The Wheeler Complex in the park saw damage to its buildings as well. The complex was once owned by Montana Senator Burton K. Wheeler but was acquired by the NPS in 2014. The full extent of the damage the complex suffered is unknown currently, but the NPS believes that the Wheeler boathouse was completely lost to the fire.

The weather through Wednesday was expected to be within 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. A light breeze, between 5 and 7 miles per hour was expected as well, according to InciWeb.

Helicopters and airplanes were being used to drop water from Lake McDonald onto spot fires, and crews were working to protect structures in the park as well. There were 60 people working to stop the fire in the park as of Tuesday.

glacier national park fire
A helicopter carries buckets of water to drop on the Howe Ridge Fire that started August 11. The Howe Ridge Fire burning in the park reached 2,600 acres on Wednesday. GlacierNPS/Flickr
Glacier National Park Howe Ridge Fire: Historic Structures Destroyed in Blaze | U.S.