Friday, 24 August 2018 11:56

Boundary Wildfire - Waterton Lakes National Park update

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Yesterday evening (Aug. 23), 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.

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
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.

•        The full evacuation alert is available here: www.pc.gc.ca/apps/scond/Cond_E.asp?oID=33268&oPark=100429

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

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