Sprague Fire holds to Snyder Ridge

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A super scooper drops water on the Sprague Fire Sunday.

The smoke cleared, the wind blew, but the Sprague Fire, helped by 250,000 gallons of water dropped by aircraft, held to the crest of Snyder Ridge Sunday.

The fire burning in Glacier National Park is now listed at about 14,400 acres. On Sunday, two Canadian CL415 aircraft, known as “super scoopers” made 140 water drops on the blaze, which helped hold it to the ridge.

The aircraft scooped water out of Lake McDonald. They made runs about noon and then another later in the evening. Two helicopters also made drops on the fire.

Fire managers want to keep the fire on the top of the ridge. If it drops down, it could threaten Lake McDonald Lodge and the Park’s 500-year-old cedar forests, though a huge sprinkler system, called “rain for rent” has been installed near the lodge, soaking the area with water.

Heavy smoke that had hung over the blaze for most of last week cleared late Saturday. Sunday was windy and warm, but clear. Today is expected to be warm again, with winds to 15 mph. Tomorrow, more of the same, though winds could gust to 30 mph.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed on the west side, as do most trails. Apgar Village and the Camas Road remain open. Most of Glacier is still open, with access to Logan Pass from the east side. The Park is currently not allowing any backcountry camping permits, however. It’s a temporary measure until the fire weather eases.

Relief from the dry weather is expected to come late Wednesday into Thursday, with a good chance of rain, and snow possible above 6,000 feet.

It will dry briefly over the weekend and then another round of wet weather is expected next Tuesday, the National Weather Service is predicting.

The Adair Fire near Logging Lake was active yesterday. It’s now burning into the Wolf Gun burn of 2003, which should slow its activity. The Elder Creek Fire on the Canadian Border wasn’t very active, though it shows potential for some short duration runs in the next couple of days.

In Waterton Lakes National Park, the Kenow Fire is still raising concerns. It was showing intense fire behavior on Sunday evening and continued to advance southeast along the Akamina Valley. Canadian officials said they expected the activity to continue. There is a high probability the wildfire will reach the British Columbia and Alberta border tonight and enter Waterton Lakes National Park near Cameron Lake.

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