WEST GLACIER, Mont. [July 28, 2020] – Glacier National Park and Flathead Crimestoppers are asking the assistance of the public in providing information on multiple suspected arson fires started in the North Fork area of Glacier National Park last week. The North Fork Landowners Association is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone responsible for the fires.
Early in the morning of July 23, a local resident woke rangers at Polebridge Ranger Station reporting a nearby fire. Later, the Numa Ridge fire lookout reported smoke near Ford Creek. Rangers and NPS fire crews eventually found a total of eight fire sites along the Inside North Fork Road between Logging Creek and Kintla Lake. Most had begun in dry logs or brush, but one fire destroyed a historic structure. All the fires were extinguished shortly after being discovered.
The historic Ford Creek patrol cabin was a total loss when rangers arrived on scene. The cabin was built as a “snowshoe cabin” in 1928 and has been used for decades for winter backcountry patrols. The structure was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as having architectural and historic significance, exemplifying the rustic architecture of early park backcountry structures, and the history of Glacier National Park's development and administration. The cabin site is approximately eight miles north of Polebridge on the Inside North Fork Road.
On the evening of July 22, suspicious fires were also reported at the Glacier Gateway Elementary school and at the Summit Mountain Lodge at Marias Pass. Fire investigators are working together to see if those fires may be related.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity on the night of July 22 or early morning of July 23 in the Polebridge or North Fork area is encouraged to call Flathead Crimestoppers at 406-752-TIPS (8477). All calls remain anonymous. Glacier National Park also has a tip line established, 406-888-7077, if you would like to talk with a park ranger.