inReach: Backpackers safely evacuate Glacier National Park for wildfire

Brent Lewis and his daughter were backpacking through Glacier National Park this July when they were forced to stop in their tracks. The Reynolds Creek Fire, first reported on July 21st, had been spreading through an area that the father-daughter duo had planned on traversing on days 3-5 of their trip.

When the fire first came into view, they decided to play it safe and set up camp at Gunsight Pass. From here they were able to keep an eye on the fast-spreading wildfire and figuring out the best course of action from the safe distance of six miles.

Using their inReach to communicate with a friend back in civilization, Brent and his daughter were able to receive weather and fire updates that enabled them to make safe, educated decisions on how to get out safely. Making their way down from Gunsight Pass, the pair eventually met National Park Service staff at Gunsight Lake on the evening of day four. Without definitive guidance from park staff, but armed with information received on their inReach, they began their trek to Jackson Glacier Overlook. On the way they met a crew of four NPS staff who were able to confirm that the shuttle was waiting to evacuate hikers.

Getting as close as 100 yards to the fire’s origin point, Brent and his daughter didn’t feel unsafe, thanks to the information they were able to receive through their inReach. “By knowing these conditions we were confident in our safety decisions,” said Brent. “Having that lifeline in those unexpected situations can make all the difference in the world.”

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The Reynolds Fire was reported at approximately 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21. It was located in the area approximately six miles east of Logan Pass, 4 miles west of St. Mary Visitor Center. Fire management priorities are firefighter and public safety, protection of property and values at risk, and containment of the fire.

The majority of Glacier National Park was unaffected by this wildfire. For specific visitor information for other Glacier National Park locations, please see official websites: http://www.nps.gov/glac; http://www.facebook.com/GlacierNPS; http://www.twitter.com/glaciernps; and http://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps.

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