Garnet Ghost Town re-opens as wildfire threat dwindles

(MISSOULA, Mont.) – Garnet Ghost Town is once again open for visitors after the Bureau of Land Management issued a new area closure in the Anderson Hill Fire vicinity. The new closure is much smaller and allows the public to access Garnet while also providing space for firefighters to safely continue suppression and mop-up operations on the 750-acre fire.  

The BLM closed Garnet Ghost Town on July 16, the day after the fire was reported within a mile of the historic site. Under Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation wildland fire protection, the Anderson Hill Fire grew quickly despite being met with aggressive initial attack.

On July 17, Erik Newell’s Type 3 Team assumed command of the incident. After several days of suppression using both ground and air resources, the Team reported 100 percent containment on Monday. The BLM determined it was safe to re-open the ghost town to visitors.  

“We are reducing the closure area around Garnet to allow use of the two access points to Garnet—Bear Gulch and Cave Gulch roads at Bearmouth to the south, and the Garnet Range Road to the north,” said Missoula BLM Field Manager Erin Carey. “Visitors should still use caution when driving in the area and should anticipate heavy fire vehicle traffic for the near future.”

Despite the proximity of the fire to the ghost town, none of the historic structures were damaged.

Each year, more than 30,000 people visit Garnet, 30 miles east of Missoula, where gold was discovered in the 1860s. By the 1890s, Garnet was a booming town with more than 1,000 residents. Garnet is now recognized as one of Montana’s most intact ghost towns and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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Bureau of Land Management


Missoula Field Office


David Abrams