Thursday afternoon at approximately 6:00 pm, the main building at the Sperry Chalet was lost to the Sprague Fire.

Firefighters hose down the roof of the Sperry Chalet in an unsuccessful effort to defend it from the Sprague Fire. 8-31-17
Firefighters hose down the roof of the Sperry Chalet in an unsuccessful effort to defend it from the Sprague Fire. 8-31-17

A highly skilled group of firefighters were staged at the Sperry Chalet over the last week. Those firefighters had an extensive hose lay, sprinkler, and pump system installed to protect all of the structures associated with the Chalet. The high winds experienced Thursday afternoon pushed the fire to the north and east. The firefighters were supported by 4 helicopters and made a valiant stand to save the structure. They were unsuccessful in saving the main Sperry Chalet. The firefighters remain on site, ARE SAFE, and are actively engaged in protecting the remaining structures.

The Sprague Fire perimeter is now estimated at 4,646 acres after a second Red Flag Warning day. An infrared flight on Thursday night reported a growth of 2,549 acres, more than doubling from Thursday.The majority of fire growth was to the north and east. Firefighters are bracing for another critical fire day based on the predicted weather.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains open. The Avalanche Lake Trail and Lake Area is closed due to fire activity. The Sprague, Snyder, and Lincoln Creek drainages and associated trails, from Lake McDonald Trailhead on the west and Gunsight Pass on the east, are also closed to all use. Click HERE for trail, road, and campground information.

Lake McDonald Lodge is closed for the season, and other concessions operations are adjusting services in the Lake McDonald Lodge area. The Glacier Swan Mountain Outfitters will continue to guide horseback rides out of their Lake McDonald corral, and Glacier Boat Company will continue to offer boat tours on Lake McDonald, with some schedule changes to accommodate concerns about localized poor air quality during mornings and evenings.

Fire managers are working to protect values at risk and evaluating structure protection needs. The fire is now very close to the Mt. Brown Lookout which is a priority value at risk. Other threatened values include backcountry cabins and campgrounds, structures in the Lake McDonald area, and trail infrastructure such as footbridges.

Smoke will continue to settle into low-lying areas when air temperatures cool at night and in the early morning hours. If you encounter smoke while driving, slow down, turn on your headlights, and watch out for people and wildlife. Montana Wildfire Smoke Updates are available HERE. If it’s smoky in one area of the park, there are often other areas of the park with better visibility. Smoke conditions vary in intensity, location and duration with fire activity. You can monitor current conditions on the Park’s webcams HERE.

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