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Friday, September 14, 2018

Boundary Wildfire affecting Waterton


The U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team is using heavy helicopter on the Boundary Wildfire when wind permits. Parks Canada / John Stoesser photo


Waterton’s Boundary Wildfire website and Facebook and Twitter
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 updates for the Boundary Wildfire

Parks Canada

September 13, 2018; 12:00

During the overnight period, cooler temperatures and precipitation resulted in no fire growth.

Working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), the initial attack teams from Banff, Kootenay and Grasslands national parks will continue extinguishing any hot spots that may be present. The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication.

The forecast is looking favourable with cooler temperatures and precipitation in the form of rain with the potential for snow in the coming days. With this trend towards cooler weather and an increase in precipitation, Fire Managers are confident that there will be no significant fire growth within Waterton Lakes National Park.

As of 10:00 a.m. on Friday September 14th, 2018, the Bertha Lake Trail, and Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds will re-open. The Lakeshore Trail beyond Bertha Bay Backcountry Campground will remain closed.EARLIER UPDATES:

September 12, 2018; 11:30

During the overnight period, cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity resulted in no fire growth. At 08:30 this morning, very limited smoke was noted. 

Working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), the initial attack teams from Banff, Kootenay and Grasslands national parks will continue extinguishing any hot spots that may be present.

Today’s forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and sustained winds at 20 km/hr, gusting to 35 km/hr. 

The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.

September 11, 2018; 19:00

Working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), the initial attack teams from Banff, Kootenay and Grasslands national parks continued establishing a hose lay on the north side of Boundary Creek running up the south side of Mount Richards.

Aerial suppression efforts continued throughout the day with three Canadian helicopters dropping water at strategic targets within the fire zone. These actions have limited further fire growth.

The forecast is calling for cooler weather tomorrow and over the next few days. Similar fire suppression activities that were undertaken today are being planned for tomorrow.

The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers. 

Important note: As of Wednesday September 12, 2018 there will be one daily update provided by 12:00 p.m. (noon) until further notice.

September 11, 2018, morning;

During the overnight period, wind speed dropped considerably and cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity resulted in no significant fire growth. At 08:30 this morning, smoke and smouldering were noted, but no open flames.

Aerial suppression efforts continued at 08:30, with three Canadian helicopters dropping water at strategic targets within the fire zone.

Working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), the initial attack teams from Banff, Kootenay and Grasslands national parks will continue establishing a hose lay on the north side of Boundary Creek and extinguish any hot spots that may be present.

Today’s forecast is calling for cooler temperatures and sustained winds at 20 km/hr, gusting to 35 km/hr.

The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.



September 10, 2018; 18:30

Aerial suppression efforts continued throughout the day with three Canadian helicopters dropping water at strategic targets within the fire zone. These actions have limited further fire growth today, despite the windy conditions.

The forecast is calling for cooler weather tomorrow and over the next few days. Smoke generating from the Boundary Valley may be visible to the public in some parts of Waterton Lakes National Park.

The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.



September 9, 2018; 20:00 

Working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), the initial attack teams from Waterton Lakes, Banff and Kootenay national parks have established a hose lay on the north side of Boundary Creek running up the south side of Mount Richards. Aerial suppression efforts continued, with three Canadian helicopters and one U.S. heavy helicopter dropping water at strategic targets in the fire zone.

At 8:30 this morning, smoke and smouldering were noted, but no open flame. During the day, moderate winds and cooler temperatures were observed. Helicopter buckets were very effective in minimizing fire activity along the eastern flank. 

The forecast is calling for seasonal temperatures and higher winds. This may increase fire activity tomorrow and limit some aircraft operations. Smoke generating from the Boundary Valley may be visible to the public in some parts of Waterton Lakes National Park.

The U.S. IMT and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.

Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite are open. Parks Canada has closed the Bison Paddock overlook which includes access to Horseshoe Trail. This closure is in effect to facilitate helicopter operations. Bertha Lake Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds remain closed due to wildfire activity in the area.


September 9, 2018; 11:30

Yesterday, aerial suppression continued until dark. Three Parks Canada helicopters and one U.S. heavy helicopter bucketed water on the east perimeter of the Boundary Wildfire throughout the day. This suppressed fire activity on hot spots and limited further fire growth, despite the windy conditions.

During the overnight period, wind speed dropped considerably and cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity led to decreased fire activity. No significant fire growth was observed overnight. At 8:30 this morning, smoke and smouldering were noted, but no open flame.

The U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) and Parks Canada are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.

The IMT has 32 firefighters assigned to this fire, including 11 from Parks Canada, stationed at Boundary Bay. Pumps, hoses and portable water tanks were delivered by helicopter to the fire this morning. Waterton’s initial attack crew is at Boundary Bay for their briefing with the U.S. IMT. Initial attack crews from Banff and Kootenay are en route, and are expected to be on the fire line by the end of the day. They will be working on the ground under the direction of the U.S. IMT to suppress the wildfire on the north side of Boundary Creek. Hoses and pumps will be set up along firelines, and aircraft will be available to support with water drops. The objective is to extinguish the hot edge of the northeastern perimeter of the fire, if conditions are safe.

The forecast is calling for similar conditions to yesterday (winds, cooler temperatures) with some cloud cover, which may dampen fire activity. Smoke generating from the Boundary Valley will be visible to the public in some parts of Waterton Lakes National Park.

U.S. and Canadian fire managers have been responding to the Boundary Wildfire since it was first observed on August 23, 2018. Fire behaviour increased due to dry and windy conditions on September 7, 2018. That afternoon, the wildfire burned across the U.S. – Canada border and into Waterton Lakes National Park for the first time since the wildfire started

September 8, 2018; 19:15

Three Parks Canada helicopters and one U.S. heavy helicopter have been bucketing water on the east perimeter of the Boundary Wildfire throughout the day. These actions have suppressed fire activity on hot spots and limited further fire growth today, despite the windy conditions.

Observed fire activity included surface fire with isolated torching of groups of trees. 

Aerial suppression of the Boundary Wildfire will continue into the evening as conditions allow.


The U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) met with Parks Canada fire managers in Waterton this morning to discuss fire activity and continuing response. The Deputy Incident Commander of the Northern Rockies IMT is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park to work closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers. Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts and are in constant communication.

The IMT has 21 firefighters assigned to this fire and stationed at Goat Haunt. Once the eastern hot spots are knocked down by heli-bucketing, and it is safe to do so, ground crews will assess the spots and determine future actions. Waterton’s initial attack crew has prepared pumps, hoses and portable water tanks that enable firefighters to draw water from Boundary Creek and suppress the wildfire from the ground. Two Parks Canada initial attack crews (8 firefighters) are travelling to Waterton Lakes National Park tomorrow morning. They will be working on the fire line under the direction of the U.S. IMT to suppress the wildfire on the north side of Boundary Creek.

The forecast is calling for cooler weather tomorrow and over the next few days. Smoke generating from the Boundary Valley will be visible to the public in some parts of Waterton Lakes National Park. 

U.S. and Canadian fire managers have been responding to the Boundary Wildfire since it was first observed on August 23, 2018. Fire behaviour increased due to dry and windy conditions on September 7, 2018. That afternoon, the wildfire burned across the U.S. – Canada border and into Waterton Lakes National Park for the first time since the wildfire started.

FIRE QUICK FACTS:
  • Location: Boundary Creek Valley, Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park. 
  • Size: Approximately 1,100 hectares (rough estimate until more accurate mapping completed) 
  • Status: Out of control 
  • Parks Canada Resources: 3 helicopters, initial attack crew, local incident management team 
WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED:

Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite are open. Parks Canada has closed the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds due to the wildfire activity in the area.
For detailed trail closure information in Waterton Lakes National Park, visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/scond/Rec_Rep_E.asp?opark=100429

For detailed trail closure information in Glacier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

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.
• Waterton’s Boundary Wildfire websitewww.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/securite-safety/pnlw-wlnp-feu-fire-2018 and Facebook and Twitter
• Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 updates for the Boundary Wildfire: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6170/


September 8, 2018; 11:30

A brief weather system passed over Waterton Lakes National Park and the Boundary Wildfire early this morning. Precipitation was too minimal to be measured by rain gauges. This rain did not provide any substantial suppression on the wildfire. A reconnaissance flight at 8:00 observed active surface fire at hot spots on the wildfire’s east perimeter.

The weather forecast is calling for high winds, sun and slightly cooler temperatures. This may lead to continued fire activity and smoke today. This morning, two Parks Canada helicopters have been bucketing water on hot spots near the east perimeter of the wildfire with the objective of holding it at an avalanche path in the Boundary valley. Parks Canada has activated a third helicopter, which is inbound.

The U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team met with Parks Canada fire managers in Waterton this morning to discuss fire activity and response. In addition to Parks Canada’s helicopters, the IMT is using heavy helicopters on the wildfire, as winds permit. The team has 19 firefighters assigned to this fire and stationed at Boundary Bay Backcountry Campground. Once these hot spots are knocked down by heli-bucketing, and it is safe to do so, ground crews will ensure the spots are completely extinguished. Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.

Additional objectives include preventing wildfire from spreading south around Campbell Mountain and back into the Waterton Valley, and managing fire activity on the west perimeter to suppress smoke that could affect air operations.

The forecast is calling for cooler weather tomorrow and over the next few days.

September 7, 2018; 20:30

At approximately 15:00, fire activity increased on the Boundary Wildfire due to dry and windy conditions. The fire spotted north across Boundary Creek and the U.S. – Canada border, burning into Waterton Lakes National Park. 

The wildfire exhibited extreme fire behaviour and burned most of the basin on the southwest facing slope of Mount Richards and the south and east facing slopes of Mount Alderson. The wildfire also travelled east 500 metres along the Boundary Valley, stopping at an avalanche path. Two spot fires are burning beyond the east perimeter of the fire in the valley. Parks Canada bucketed water with a helicopter on the east perimeter of the fire earlier this afternoon. 

Currently, the winds and fire activity has diminished. Parks Canada has activated a second helicopter. Both are directly suppressing the fire’s east perimeter until dark by bucketing water with the objective of holding the wildfire at the avalanche path. The U.S. Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team has 19 firefighters assigned to this fire and stationed at Boundary Bay Backcountry Campground. Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.

High winds with slightly cooler temperatures is forecast for tomorrow. This may lead to continued fire activity and smoke. Objectives for the day include holding the fire at the avalanche path and obtaining a GPS perimeter of the wildfire.

Parks Canada has closed the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds due to the wildfire activity in the area.


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

Parks Canada, September 7, 2018, 4:20 pm 

Fire behaviour on the Boundary Wildfire has increased over the past hour due to dry and windy conditions. This increased fire activity is creating dark smoke that will rise from the Boundary Valley and travel north with the wind.

Safety is our top priority. Parks Canada has closed the Bertha Lake Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds. (Violators may be charged under the Canada National Parks Act: maximum penalty $25 000.)

Parks Canada is monitoring the wildfire from the air by helicopter. A U.S. Incident Management Team is managing the Boundary Wildfire. Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts closely and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.

An update will be provided later this evening.

Map of the area closure

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