Air quality forcing Lake McDonald Lodge to close early - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Air quality forcing Lake McDonald Lodge to close early

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GLACIER NATIONAL PARK -

Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park announced its closure on Wednesday on August 30th, for the season due to air quality concerns from the Sprague Fire and other regional fires.  This closure sends 150 employees home for the summer and drastically changes guest’s plans. 

The Sprague Fire, two miles away from the lodge is not currently a threat to developed area surrounding Lake McDonald, but heavy smoke is settling in the area.  Even the popular red bus tours are affected.  Those buses are now going to have to be completely rerouted to a different location as Lake McDonald Lodge is a popular place for those tours to stop.

General Manager of Xanterra Parks and Resorts Marc Ducharme tells us, “Never at Lake McDonald Lodge has this happened.”

After dangerous air quality readings, Ducharme tells us why he decided to close the lodge.

Ducharme explains, “The recommendation was for all groups of people to stay indoors during that time.  Obviously, we can't operate a lodge while people are staying inside 12 hours a day.”

Ducharme tells us while the lodge will lose some revenue, but it’s more important to keep employees and visitors out of harmful air quality.    

Joyce Whitlock, visiting from Texas was coming back to Lake McDonald Lodge after a disappointing rainy visit last week.  She had planned on having lunch with friends and had no idea the lodge was closed.

Whitlock says, “It's very disappointing.  Wish we had some notice that it was closed but they're busy.  But I don't know if there's going to be much visibility today at all.”

Some people like Jesse Durst know nature can be uncontrollable.  Visiting from Wisconsin, he compares the wildfires in Montana to other natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

Durst says, “A storm comes through and dumps a bunch of water on an urban area.  I'm sure people were planning on taking vacations there but now can't go.  So, it's just part of the process of living in a planet that's unpredictable.”

Fire crews are working non-stop to put out the Sprague Fire and while the light rain helped, crews are still hoping for cooler weather and less wind.

If you have a reservation at Lake McDonald Lodge, click here for more information.

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