Wildfire through Glacier National Park prompts tourists and residents to evacuate

Gusting winds ignited a wildfire through a section of Glacier National Park in Montana this week. The fast moving fire forced evacuations in nearby homes along St. Mary Lake and visitors to leave hotels and campgrounds.

This area is a popular spot for a lot of Minnesotans and has historic ties to Minnesota. The area is about 1,500 square miles -- to put that into perspective, it’s about the same size as Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Dakota counties combined.

The fire has burned 4,000 acres, which is just a small area of the park, but where it’s burning is the main concern. It’s on the east side of the park going along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road, which bisects the park and hugs mountainsides to cross the popular tourist attraction, the Continental Divide.

The National Weather Service satellites picked up the smoke plume from space. The forecast Thursday called for more red flag warnings which mean winds up to 30 mph and humidity as low 10 percent, which could cause the wildfire to spread quickly.