On vacation at Glacier National Park when the Howe Ridge Fire exploded into a massive forest fire closing Going to the Sun Road and causing massive evacuations of the Lake McDonald Lodge area, Avalanche area and surrounding.

The fire started (assumption) with a lightning strike during a 30 minute storm on the evening of Aug 11, 2018. Witnessed by staff from the Lake McDonald Lodge they reported that they could see a small fire that evening.

By morning the fire had grown slightly while it burned in the fire scar from the 2003 Howe Ridge Fire.

In the afternoon a strong wind came up (NWS had issued Red Flag Warnings) and the fire exploded into a massive blaze. This footage was captured from the lake shore at Lake McDonald Lodge about 1 hour before the order was given to evacuate.

Earlier in the day fixed wing (scooper style) aircraft had been making runs at the fire. When we arrived there was no visible presence of any firefighters or park patrol. The lodge area was filling with guests. We stayed on the shore filming and speaking with mostly lodge workers as we captured footage.

We questioned their current evacuation plans and the employees reported they were unaware of any evacuation orders (note: they were staff and not management). We advised that they should, at a minimum, get their stuff in order to be able to move when the order came.

A single helicopter with string bucket arrived and made a few runs at the fire. Brave pilot fighting an overwhelming fire, strong wind and poor visibility. Wind was too strong and he/she was not making any progress. As the sun set behind the ridge it left the scene.

We stopped filming when it was clear the fire was completely out of control. Upon exiting the park we filled up fuel next to a local VFD vehicle who reported to us that the lodge was now being evacuated and the road closed.

This footage is mostly unedited and put up for news and information purposes.

(Note the audio was captured off the camera mic during filming. The hum/ hissing is the sound of the fire. Voices are communication between us, staff and guests down by the lake shore watching the flames.)


NPS and related government agencies are granted permission to share and distribute this footage in association with any news or information sharing about this fire. Credit at CampgroundViews.com

Future use for training or education please contact us for permission.

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