There had been speculation that this was going to happen since last week. Harris Mountain finally forced their hands.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has announced that as of yesterday (Wednesday), the lower end of Holter Lake near Helena is closed to allow fire-fighting resources access to the water. Holter Lake from Log Gulch Campground to Holter Dam is closed to all public  recreation including, but not limited to, floating, swimming, wading and boating.

The lower end of Holter Lake is where the popular Gates of the Mountains Boat Tours is headquartered, not to mention the many private boats that are docked there and the frequently used public boat launch. The closure allows firefighting planes to safely fill from the reservoir.

The Gates of the Mountains and the upper area of Holter Lake will still be open to recreation. But this obviously is a very serious situation and our guess is that tolerance for those trying to bend the rules will be low. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens, along with other law enforcement agencies, will contact boaters and other recreationists using the lake to leave immediately. Boating activities will be restricted from all private and public launch sites and boaters will not be allowed to travel on the water due to the closure.

The need for the closure has to do with the Harris Mountain Fire, currently estimated at over 31,000 acres and only about 20% contained. Cause of the fire, discovered July 23, is believed to be lightning.

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