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Evacuation order lifted for residents of Essex, US Highway 2 reopens


HELENA, Montana — The Flathead County sheriff's office has lifted the mandatory evacuation order for residents of Essex, on the southern edge of Glacier National Park.

The evacuation order was lifted at 6 a.m. Monday. Residents were asked to remain prepared to leave again if fire conditions warrant.

U.S. Highway 2 also reopened at 6 a.m., with pilot cars escorting traffic through a 9-mile stretch of the highway.

BNSF Railway and Amtrak trains are running intermittently.

The over 3-square-mile fire that caused the evacuation is burning about a mile south of Essex, and about an eighth of a mile from the train tracks.

Meanwhile, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials planned to close the Alberton Gorge section of the Clark Fork River on Monday because water is being taken from the river to fight nearby fires.

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