Forest Service closes east side of Hyalite Dam due to fire danger
Here is a comprehensive list of the closures in the East Fork Hyalite area:
The gate on the east side of Hyalite Dam is closed. That means people are no longer allowed in the Chisholm and Hood Creek campgrounds. Palisades, Emerald Lake and Flanders Creek Trailheads are off-limits. The Window Rock-Maxey Cabins have been shut down.
The Forest Service is taking these closures very seriously, and for good reason -- the Horsetail Fire burned down into the Flanders Creek area Wednesday afternoon, one of the specific areas listed in the closure.
Gallatin National Forest Fire Information Technician Marianne Baumberger explained that the Horsetail Fire is the main reason for the expanded closure. The fire is less than two miles from Hyalite Reservoir.
Baumberger tells NBC Montana that with fire resources running thin across the region, they're not taking any chances.
"Most of our fires in this area are lightning caused," Baumberger explained. "However at this time, with resources getting thinner and thinner across the nation, we really don't want to have to deal with the human-caused fire."
We also talked to a member of a wedding party who had just been evacuated from the Hyalite area. The wedding had around 300 guests and was shut down Wednesday afternoon just hours before the ceremony.