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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waterton Lakes National Park fire information update


John Stoesser, Parks Canada -
At this time, there are no wildfires in Waterton Lakes National Park. The fire danger rating remains extreme with hot and dry weather conditions forecast throughout the week. The park received a couple millimetres of rain on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. However, the forecasted weather and lack of rain over the past four-plus weeks has resulted in extreme conditions that require heavy, sustained rains to address.

Parks Canada proactively implemented a limited backcountry closure in Waterton Lakes National Park to ensure we are best positioned to respond to a wildfire and to secure the safety of our visitors. All backcountry campgrounds and some trails are closed. Off-trail hiking, scrambling, climbing and backcountry camping in the park is prohibited.

Closed back-country campgrounds:
Crandell Lake
Goat Lake
Snowshoe
Twin Lakes
Lone Lake
Alderson Lake
Bertha Lake
Bertha Bay
Boundary Bay

Closed trails included:
The Tamarack Trail (Blue Grouse Basin/Lone lake Junction to Rowe Meadow)
Lost Lake Trail
Boundary Creek Trail from Summit Lake to the U.S. border)
Avion Ride (from Goat Lake campground to Snowshoe Cabin)
Sage Pass Trail
South Kootenay Pass Trail
Lineham Ridge

Many trails are still open to provide our visitors with exceptional and safe hiking experiences.

In these conditions a wildfire can spread quickly and burn intensely. This limited closure will significantly enhance Parks Canada’s ability to sweep trails in the case of any fire emergency. A fire ban is in effect for Waterton Lakes National Park due to the extreme fire danger.

Visitor safety is our top priority. We will lift these restrictions when conditions improve sufficiently and the safety of visitors and our staff can be assured. We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation.

Parks Canada continues to monitor conditions with daily helicopter patrols to check for lightning strikes or ignition of fires. One initial attack team and one helicopter is stationed in Waterton and ready to respond. Parks Canada is also working with regional fire managers in Alberta and Montana to monitor the situation and share information about resources and conditions.

Smoke conditions can change daily in Waterton Lakes National Park and are the result of wildfires burning in British Columbia and possibly from wildfires in Montana. For smoke and air quality alerts visit: Environment and Climate Change Canada (www.airhealth.ca). 

For the most up-to-date information on fire bans, wildfires and closures in individual national parks visit www.parkscanada.ca/fire. Motorists are also encouraged to check provincial highway information at DriveBC and Alberta511.

The national Get Prepared: Emergency Preparedness and FireSmart Canada websites have resources to help you plan for an emergency and protect your home.

Please note the BC Parks limited closure in Akamina-Kishenana Provincial Park.

Report any wildfires, campfires, including briquette barbeques, or suspicious smoke, including in the townsite, campgrounds and day-use areas to Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-888-WARDENS (1-888-927-3367).

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