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Friday, August 31, 2018

Waterton Lakes National Park open to visitors (Boundary Wildfire updates)

Fire Information Update - Boundary Wildfire - August 31, 2018; 16:25

Parks Canada - Waterton Lakes National Park is open and ready to welcome visitors. Most recreational activities and tourism opportunities are available.


WHAT’S HAPPENING

The Boundary Wildfire remains entirely within Glacier National Park, U.S.A. and is being managed by the Type 1 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1. The wildfire remains active and is approximately 860 hectares in size.

It showed some interior burning, with multiple areas of smouldering and creeping fire in the Boundary Creek valley, as the vicinity begins to dry from the precipitation on Sunday and Monday. The weather forecast is calling for gusty weather to continue into the end of the week. The wildfire may show solitary areas of smoke and increased fire activity, such as isolated torching on the southeastern perimeter. Fire activity, including smoke and flame, may be visible to the public in some areas with the return of warmer, sunny weather. Fire managers continue to monitor fire activity and will take action if needed.

Yesterday, windy conditions prevented crews from performing bucket drops on active areas of the fire. If conditions are favourable today, a helicopter will drop water on hot spots on the northeastern flank. Crews are working to minimize fire spread within the Boundary Creek Valley. A fire crew module will arrive today and scout the area for further suppression actions.

Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response. Parks Canada will only provide further updates about the Boundary Wildfire when there are significant changes such as notable fire growth, changes to area closures and anticipated increase in fire activity. The Type 1 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 regularly updates their Boundary Wildfire incident website: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6170/

On August 27, 2018 at 09:00, the Evacuation Alert for Waterton Lakes National Park was rescinded. Most areas have reopened that were closed due to the Boundary Wildfire. The Lakeshore Trail is closed south of Bertha Bay to Boundary Bay. For the most up-to-date area closures visit our Important Bulletins page: www.pc.gc.ca/apps/scond/Rec_Rep_e.asp?opark=100429 


  EARLIER UPDATES:

The Boundary Wildfire exhibiting extreme behaviour  on the evening of August 23, 2018 . Flame heights up to 200 feet were reported. Parks Canada / Ryan Peruniak photo.

Parks Canada

Boundary Wildfire - Waterton Lakes National Park: August 25, 2018; 20:00

An Evacuation Alert continues to be in effect for all of Waterton Lakes National Park. All backcountry areas and hiking trails in Waterton remain closed, including access up the Red Rock Parkway and on water bodies. The safety of the public, our crews, infrastructure and neighbouring lands is always Parks Canada’s priority.

The wildfire has not grown significantly throughout the day and remains in the Boundary Creek Valley in Glacier National Park, U.S.A. There was minimal fire growth north towards Boundary Creek. The fire is approximately 7 kilometres from the Waterton townsite.

Today’s weather forecast was accurate with lower than normal temperatures and winds from the southwest. This caused some active fire behaviour of moderate intensity this afternoon, including surface fire (visible flames burning twigs, logs and brush on the ground) and isolated single tree torching (whole tree goes up in flames).

The weather forecast is similar for tomorrow, with a significant amount of rain forecast for Sunday night and into Monday. This weather change may slow fire spread, but fire managers do not expect the anticipated precipitation to extinguish the fire. 

Fire managers have identified control lines where crews could take advantage of favourable terrain and natural breaks in advance of the fire perimeter (an avalanche slide path and a creek). Direct fire suppression and/or indirect attack actions may be used to contain the fire’s spread north towards Waterton Lakes National Park or east towards Upper Waterton Lake at these lines.

Heavy smoke prevented air operations earlier in the day. Reconnaissance flights took place, and additional air operations will take place this evening if conditions allow.

Parks Canada and the U.S. National Park Service are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response. Parks Canada has installed structural protection at backcountry campgrounds.

WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED

ALL OF WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK IS CLOSED, with the exception of:

· Townsite
· Highway 5/6 including Entrance Road to Townsite
· Chief Mountain Highway


 
Boundary Wildfire - Waterton Lakes National Park: August 25, 2018; 12:20

An Evacuation Alert continues to be in effect for all of Waterton Lakes National Park. All backcountry areas and hiking trails in Waterton remain closed, including access up the Red Rock Parkway and on water bodies. The safety of the public, our crews, infrastructure and neighbouring lands is always Parks Canada’s priority.

The fire did not grow significantly last night and it remains in the Boundary Creek Valley in Glacier National Park, U.S.A. The wildfire is approximately 7 kilometres from the Waterton townsite.

There was no rain last night at the Warden Office or Boundary Bay and only 0.2 mm at Goat Haunt. There is heavy smoke in the air this morning. The weather forecast for today is calling for lower than seasonal temperatures and moderate southwest winds that could lead to some active fire behaviour on wildfire’s east flank. A significant amount of rain is forecast for Sunday night and Monday.

Parks Canada and the U.S. National Park Service are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response. Yesterday, August 24th, Glacier National Park Air Attack assessed the wildfire in the morning and afternoon. Due to gusty north winds and low-lying smoke, aerial crews were not able to drop water on the fire. Glacier National Park Air Attack will assess the fire again this morning and take action as conditions allow. Parks Canada has installed structural protection at backcountry campgrounds.



August 24, 2018 at 18:30

An Evacuation Alert is in effect for all of Waterton Lakes National Park. All backcountry areas and hiking trails in Waterton remain closed, including access up the Red Rock Parkway and on water bodies. The safety of the public, our crews, infrastructure and neighbouring lands is always Parks Canada's priority.



August 23, 2018 ­ A nighttime view of the Boundary Wildfire. Parks Canada / Ryan Peruniak photo.

The Boundary Wildfire was active along its perimeter, with ground fire and occasional torching. The fire has not grown significantly today and it remains in the Boundary Creek Valley in Glacier National Park, U.S.A. The wildfire is approximately 7 kilometres from the Waterton townsite.

Parks Canada continues to coordinate efforts closely with the U.S. National Park Service. Glacier National Park Air Attack assessed the wildfire in the morning and afternoon. Due to gusty north winds and low-lying smoke, aerial crews were not able to drop water on the fire this morning or in the afternoon. Parks Canada has installed structural protection at backcountry campgrounds.

QUICK FIRE FACTS

Location: Boundary Creek Valley, Glacier National Park, USA

Size: Approximately 700 hectares

Status: Out of control

Parks Canada Resources: 2 helicopters, initial attack team, local incident command team

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

• The safety of the public, our crews, park infrastructure and neighbouring lands is always Parks Canada’s number one priority.

Stay up-to-date through Waterton Lakes National Park’s “Important Bulletins” page on the park website, and the park’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Additional information about wildfires in the national mountain parks is available here at www.parkscanada.ca/fire. For smoke and air quality alerts visit www.airhealth.ca

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WHEN AN ALERT IS IN EFFECT
  • Locate all family members or co-workers and designate which Reception Centre or location outside the evacuation area you will meet up at, should an evacuation be called while separated;
  • Gather essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if you choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc). Have these items readily available for quick departure;
  • Prepare to move any disabled persons, children and pets and/or livestock;
  • Arrange to transport your household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order, including ensuring the transportation is fueled up. If you need transportation assistance please advise the individual providing notice of the evacuation, any park staff or RCMP.
  • Arrange accommodation for your family if possible. In the event of an evacuation, Reception Centres will be opened if required;
  • Monitor news sources for information on evacuation orders and locations of Reception Centres.
  • Further information will be issued should the situation change. (Or, visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/index).
  • Move firewood piles, lumber, trailers, storage sheds as far away as possible from your homes.
  • Store patio furniture and decorative pieces away from your home when you are not around

IF AN EVACUATION IS ORDERED
  • You will be given notice in person or over the phone by park staff or other emergency personnel. Emergency personnel will check all houses and locations and mark them when cleared;
  • You must leave the park within one hour of formal notice;
  • If a resident or homeowner, close all doors and windows, shut off propane or natural gas. RCMP and Parks Canada Wardens will provide security during the evacuation period;
  • Travel will only be permitted out of the park. Admittance to evacuated areas will be limited to emergency vehicles. 

For more information contact our Information Line at 403-859-5140.

A smoke column rises from the Boundary Wildfire August 23, 2018 in Glacier National Park, USA.Parks Canada/Ryan Peruniak photo
Parks Canada/Scott Murphy photo


August 24

August 24, 2018; 11:00 am

Yesterday evening, a wildfire started south of Waterton Lakes National Park in the Boundary Creek Valley, west of Upper Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park, USA. Due to the wildfire’s behaviour and location, and weather predictions, Parks Canada issued an Evacuation Alert for all of Waterton Lakes National Park last night.

All backcountry areas and hiking trails in Waterton Lakes National Park are currently closed. Parks Canada staff evacuated backcountry campgrounds and swept trails in Waterton yesterday evening. The Evacuation Alert was shared door-to-door throughout the community of Waterton Park, on social media and through Alberta Emergency Alerts.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

Waterton Lakes and Glacier national parks monitored the wildfire throughout the night from Upper Waterton Lake. The wildfire is approximately 700 hectares in size. This is a rough estimate, the size may change once it is more accurately mapped. Currently, the fire is still south of the international border in Glacier National Park, USA. Parks Canada and the U.S. National Park Service are coordinating efforts closely. Air resources will be used today to slow the spread of fire eastward toward Waterton Lake, as conditions permit. Glacier National Park Air Attack is over the fire at this time.

Glacier National Park is implementing structure protection measures in the Goat Haunt area. Parks Canada is installing structure protection at Boundary Bay and Bertha Bay backcountry campgrounds. Parks Canada will bring in additional structural protection resources to the Waterton townsite if required.

As of 10:00 winds have shifted and are blowing from the north. Today’s weather forecast is calling for potential rain, increased relative humidity and lower temperatures beginning this evening.

The Waterton townsite remains open, but visitors are advised that the Evacuation Alert is still in effect.


BACKGROUND

Parks Canada received a report of smoke at approximately 18:00 yesterday (Thursday, August 23). Soon after a helicopter patrol spotted a wildfire near Boundary Creek in Glacier National Park. The wildfire was exhibiting extreme behaviour caused by strong winds and dry fuel. The fire grew quickly, from initial reports of approximately 20 hectares to 100 hectares within an hour, and at 500 hectares in 2 hours.

Initial air attack resources assessed the situation and determined that air suppression would not be successful due to the conditions. Parks Canada will continue to work closely with Glacier National Park to assess options for suppression and containment.

August 23

Parks Canada has issued an Evacuation Alert for all areas in Waterton Lakes National Park.  A wildfire that started south of Waterton in the Boundary Creek valley is currently burning out of control. Because of the potential danger to life and health, Parks Canada has issued an Evacuation Alert for all of Waterton Lakes National Park.

An Evacuation Alert has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property should it be found necessary. Visitors and residents will be given as much advance notice as possible prior to evacuation; however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions.



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