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Posted on: August 9, 2017

Wildfire Update from Parks Canada - Aug. 9, 11:10 a.m.

Parks Canada is actively managing the Verdant Creek wildfire. The fire does not directly threaten any local communities or the Bow and Columbia valleys. Visitors and residents should expect increased smoke as temperatures rise. The north part of the fire has not grown in size and remains on the West side of the Continental Divide. Crews are working directly on the fire’s edge on the north to suppress the fire and continue to work to contain the spread of the fire in proximity to Highway 93 South.

What’s new
As of Wednesday, August 9th the operational closure of Sunshine Village will be lifted. The Sunshine Gondola, Upper Village facilities, and Standish Chair will be open. Hiking trails in the Sunshine Meadows and the Sunshine Village areas remain closed.

In the evening of August 8, a new fire was started by a lightning strike in the Eohippus Lake area. Parks Canada immediately responded with two helicopters with water buckets. Crews are on the ground today working to extinguish this small fire. Parks Canada maintains full capacity to respond to any new fire incidents.

As a precautionary measure, the Vermilion Pass Guard in the north end of Kootenay National Park will be re-established to provide a containment line. This proactive measure will provide a fuel break to reduce fire spread into the Bow Valley. The guard was originally constructed during the 2003 fires with heavy machinery on the west and east side of Highway 93 South near the Continental Divide. The plan for this work includes mitigation of environmental impacts and considerations for species at risk.

Additional areas may be closed proactively for the safety of the public, to reduce the potential for additional fires and to facilitate fire operations. For a complete list of existing area closures, please check here: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/verdant-fire

What’s closed
To ensure public safety and to facilitate fire management operations, the following areas are closed:

In Kootenay National Park:
  • Area northwest of Honeymoon Pass Trail including Hawk Creek Trail and Kootenay Park Lodge; 
  • Verdant Creek and Simpson River area; 
  • Southern portion of the Rockwall Trail from Floe Lake trailhead on Highway 93 South to Tumbling Pass, including Floe Lake and Numa Creek backcountry campgrounds. 
In Banff National Park:
  • Ball Pass area from junction of Whistling Pass; 
  • Hiking trails in the Sunshine Meadows and the Sunshine Village areas; 
  • All trails in the Egypt Lake area, including Healy Pass, Citadel Pass and Sunshine Meadows; 
  • Brewster Creek area drainage; 
  • Backcountry campgrounds Re16, Re21, E13, E5, Su8 and BW10. 
A fire ban remains in effect in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks due to the elevated fire danger and to prevent the possibility of human-caused fires.

What’s open
In Kootenay National Park:
  • The Radium Hot Springs pools, Redstreak Campground and nearby trails remain open as usual, and will not be affected by any temporary road closures resulting from the fire. 
In Banff National Park:
  • All facilities except the trails and campgrounds in the closure area are open; 
  • The Sunshine Gondola, Upper Village facilities and Standish Chair
  • Shadow Lake Lodge, Storm Mountain Lodge and backcountry campgrounds Re6 and Re14. 

Current air quality information can help residents and visitors plan their activities. Here are links to air quality advisories and more information:

FOR CURRENT INFORMATION:
  • Refer to our website: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/verdant-fire and our Facebook and Twitter channels. 
  • Highway 93 through Kootenay National Park continues to be affected by wildfire, smoke and fire suppression activities. Check www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca for possible temporary closures, alternate routes and the most up-to-date information. 
Emergencies only: Report wildfires, illegal campfires, or suspicious smoke to Banff Dispatch at 403-762-4506
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