Hikers Survive Driving Through Vicious Wildfire in Glacier National Park
The western half of the United States, especially the Pacific Northwest, is under flames, quickly burning away to nothing. Major fires are destroying the lands of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana. Glacier National Park, in Montana, is experiencing a rapidly spreading wildfire that very nearly cooked up an extremely lucky father-son hiking duo.
Justin Bilton, 37, and his 70-year-old father, Charlie, both from Massachusetts, were on a backpacking trip off Lake McDonald Road in Glacier National Park on Aug. 12 when the smoke and heat from a “small fire” began quickly moving in their direction. Bilton shared a disturbing video and the account of their escape from the fire, both of which appear below, with the Boston Globe on Monday.
I thought we were going to die,” Justin Bilton told NBC Montana. “In the boat we were so full of adrenaline and kind of shaken up. I think it was when we got off the boat at the dock it kind of really hit me. ‘Oh my god, we almost just died.’ ”
“We made it, and everyone was safe,” Kimball told the TV station.
As you can see from the video, the “small fire,” by Montana standards, was not small at all, and it was pretty terrifying to watch.
The two men luckily made it back to the shore safely of the nearby lake. Their stroke of good luck wasn’t done just yet. Two people on a boat in the distance saw Bilton and his father waving at them. If they hadn’t come to their rescue, the outcome could very likely have been tragic. Moments later, they watched the piece of land they were just standing on burn up in flames.
What started as a fun camping and hiking trip, turned into something much different and a nearly deadly experience.
This post is a collaboration with Hugh Owen.
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