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Glacier National Park Wildfire Flares Up

August 11, 2003

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) _ A flare-up at a wildfire in Glacier National Park forced authorities to re-evacuate some campers, residents and workers, and to close another popular tourist road through the park.

The blaze jumped a road on Sunday afternoon and started heading toward the area around Lake McDonald, fire managers said.

The area is about 10 miles northeast of West Glacier, the park’s gateway town that had been threatened by the fire for more than a week in late July and early August. Residents there were permitted to return home August 3. The fire has already burned 36,600 acres.

Fire information officer Jim Lane said initial reports had flames shooting 200 feet in the air.

Authorities decided Sunday to evacuate the Lake McDonald Lodge, three campgrounds along the lake, some area homes and an area on the northwest side of the lake to McDonald Creek.

It wasn’t immediately known how many people were evacuated.

``We will look again at conditions Monday to determine if the closed portions of the park can be safely reopened,″ Park Superintendent Mick Holm said.

Heavy smoke Sunday forced another temporary closure of the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road, which reopened to visitors last week after being closed since July 24. Visitors had lined up 100 vehicles deep to take advantage of the opportunity to drive across the park.

A fire that began with a lightning strike near the small town of Big Timber, 150 miles east of Helena, grew to about 30,000 acres and forced the evacuation of some 50 homes, fire information officers said Monday.

In Idaho, a wildfire that had swelled to more than 37,000 acres stalled about two miles from the Montana border, fire information officer Jim Ballard said. The fire was contained Monday.

A fast-moving Wyoming wildfire temporarily closed a section of the main north-south highway through Grand Teton National Park and prompted the evacuation of up to 300 people from a campground.

No one was injured and no structures were threatened, park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo said. The Gros Ventre campground was expected to remain closed at least until Monday.

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On the Net:

National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

Glacier web cams: http://www.nps.gov/glac/whatsnew.htm

Glacier fire updates: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/ciimt5/ac/

Robert Fire: http://akteam.ak.blm.gov/

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