National park icons threatened by windy firesSep 5, 2017 From wire reports
HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Winds wreaked havoc on wildfires that were threatening two crown jewels of the National Park Service on Monday, pushing the flames toward man-made and natural icons in and around Glacier and Yosemite national parks.
The wind-driven fires, combined with high temperatures and dry conditions, have disrupted holiday travel and hampered firefighters across the West during a Labor Day weekend that capped a devastating summer in which an area larger than Rhode Island has burned.
The dozens of fires burning across the West and Canada have blanketed the air with choking smoke from Oregon, where ash fell on the town of Cascade Locks, to Colorado, where health officials issued an air quality advisory alert.
Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Nebraska, among other states, also have been inundated with smoke.
A fire in Montana's Glacier National Park emptied the park's busiest tourist spot as wind gusts drove the blaze toward the doorstep of a century old lodge.
The 14-square-mile fire that consumed a historic Glacier backcountry chalet last week was about a mile away from Lake McDonald Lodge, a 103-year-old Swiss chalet-style hotel.
The lodge is an endearing park symbol for many visitors, and it's the jumping-off point for hikes, boat rides and horseback rides.