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Posted: August 3, 2018

Fire keeping Kootenay Park highway closed

Parks Canada is currently managing three lightning-ignited wildfires in Kootenay, Yoho and Banff national parks.

None of these fires currently pose a risk to local communities, Parks Canada reported in an update.

The lightning-ignited Wardle wildfire in the Vermilion Valley is now estimated at 1,200 hectares. Helicopters continue to intensively water bucket the edges of the fire and crews will be deployed on the ground as soon as it is safe to do so. Heavy smoke from this fire is expected throughout the day.

The fire has forced the evacuation of Kootenay Park Lodge at Vermilion Crossing during its busiest weekend of the year.

Road closures, area closures and evacuation orders are in place throughout Kootenay National Park.

A partial closure for Highway 93 remains in place with no through access due to the presence of fire and hazard trees on both sides of the highway and dense smoke limiting visibility.

However, there is access into the park from the south and north. In the south of Kootenay National Park, access from Radium Hot Springs to McLeod Meadows is open including the Radium Hot Pools. In the north of Kootenay National Park, access to Paint Pots from the Junction of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) is open.

Next road status update is anticipated at noon on Sunday, August 5.

Lightning continues to create new problems.

On August 2, Parks Canada fire crews responded to a new lightning-ignited spot fire near Hamilton Lake in Yoho National Park. Crews will continue to work to extinguish this spot fire and are supported by helicopter bucketing.

The spot fire on the slopes of Lipalian Mountain in the Bow Valley, east Lake Louise, is contained at approximately 0.1 ha in size and is expected to be extinguished.

The one remaining lightning-ignited spot fire in Kootenay Valley, south of Kootenay Crossing is now extinguished.

The Whitetail Creek wildfire, west of Kootenay National Park in the Beaverfoot Valley, continues to be managed by BC Wildfire in partnership with Parks Canada.

The Siffleur Wilderness Area wildfire, north of Banff National Park in the Siffleur River Valley continues to be managed by AB Wildfire.

Parks Canada fire crews continue to monitor Kootenay and Banff national parks for new wildfires and are ready with the resources to respond quickly.

In Kootenay National Park, all trails, backcountry campgrounds and day-use areas are closed from the Rockwall trail south to the Dolly Varden trail.

• All day-use area, trails and campgrounds south of McLeod Meadows.
• All day-use area, trails and campgrounds north of the Paint Pots are open, including Paint Pots trail. Note: the trail is closed beyond the Paint Pots on the Helmet/Ochre trail. Storm Mountain Lodge remains open.
• Columbia Valley communities and businesses remain open. Alternate routes, such as Highways 1 and 95 through Golden, add approximately one additional hour of driving time.

A fire ban remains is in place for Kootenay, Yoho and Banff national parks due to elevated fire danger.

Check www.DriveBC.ca and www.511.alberta.ca for alternate routes and up to date information.

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