High winds complicate firefighting efforts

High winds complicate firefighting efforts

02 August 2015

published by http://www.dailyinterlake.com

USA —   Low humidity and high winds are complicating efforts to contain the Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park, which has more or less stabilized at 3,558 acres.

A slightly reduced personnel footprint of 515 people are battling the fire, which has reopened previously burned spots. “Black areas” are flaming up again because of the hot temperatures, low humidity and high winds.

The fire was reported as 65 percent contained but the spot fires behind the lines mean that the east side of Glacier National Park is likely to see fire and smoke in the burned areas and the Rose Creek Drainage until a fire season-ending event, such as the first snow.

Unburned areas behind fire containment lines are susceptible to spot fires as flying embers touch off in green areas. Firefighters are dousing these spot fires with water and hand tools.

According to fire public information officials, the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor remains dangerous. The fire is burning close to the road in some spots, with unburned trees with the potential to burn right next to it. Fire officials have determined several dozen trees weakened by fire next to the road will have to be removed to be safe.

Eight Hotshot crews and five 20-person hand crews remain on the scene, as well as 12 engines, seven helicopters and multiple shared resources from regional fire departments.

A series of fires west of Montana might contribute to the smoke visible in Northwest Montana, according to the National Weather Service. Hot weather looks poised to continue with highs of 96 for today and 87 for Tuesday predicted.

The Red Eagle Drainage is open for hikers and the Sperry Trail is open from the west side all the way to Gunsight Pass.

In good news, animals are returning to the burned areas, firefighters have reported. Elk, bear, coyotes, moose, deer and small animals have been spotted in blackened areas.

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