Home » B.C. crews to help at Waterton prescribed burns

Posted: May 10, 2013

B.C. crews to help at Waterton prescribed burns

Travelers’ Advisory

Firefighting crews from B.C. are heading to Waterton Lakes National Park in the southwestern corner of Alberta this week to provide assistance in a series of prescribed burns within the park.

Chief Mountain Highway, Waterton National Park, near Belly River Campground. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
Chief Mountain Highway, Waterton National Park, near Belly River Campground. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Four, three-person initial attack crews and one agency representative are departing today (May 10) for Alberta, notes a Fire Centre press release.

The request for assistance was made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other jurisdictions.

Considering the current and forecasted provincial fire situation, sufficient personnel and resources remain in B.C. to respond appropriately to any within-province fire activities. Crews can be deployed for up to 19 days but can be recalled at any time.

Looking toward Blackiston Valley along Waterton's Red Rock Canyon Road. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
Looking toward Blackiston Valley along Waterton’s Red Rock Canyon Road. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Costs associated with deployment will be covered by the receiving jurisdictions under the Mutual Aid Resources Sharing Agreement, which allows for the movement of firefighting resources throughout Canada.

Anyone thinking of travelling to Waterton, only one hour from the Elk Valley, in the upcoming few weeks should be aware there are three prescribed burns planned within the park.

The three prescribed fires are (see map courtesy Parks Canada):

watertonparksmap– Eskerine Complex (area between the Bison Paddock, Lower Waterton Lakes and Red Rock Parkway).

– Red Rock Complex (area between Blakiston Creek and the height of land to the north in the Blakiston Valley, from Bellevue Hill to Red Rock Canyon).

– Y-Camp Unit (area between Chief Mountain Highway and Lower Waterton Lake / Dardanelles, from the park gate to Marquis Hole).

The ‘Y-Camp’ burn unit is expected to be first up.

The Buffalo Paddock in Waterton, with Chief Mountain in the background. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW
The Buffalo Paddock in Waterton, with Chief Mountain in the background. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

The burn is being conducted to restore native prairie by reducing aspen and evergreen expansion into the grasslands. Operations related to that burn are likely to be finished by the end of May, although it could be cancelled based on moisture and weather conditions.

As a result of this burn the Belly River Campground will be closed until May 15, because of the closure of Chief Mountain Highway. The nearest border crossing is south of Cardston.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW


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