Verdant Creek Wildfire Update : August 11, 2017
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.
As of Thursday August 10, the following trails in the Sunshine Village area are open to the public: Rock Isle, Meadow Park and Twin Cairns trails and the Standish Viewing Loop. The trails to Laryx and Grizzly Lakes in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park remain closed. Hiking is only permitted on designated trails. Visitors are reminded that a Restricted Activity order remains in place in the Sunshine Meadows area to protect sensitive habitat and improve habitat security for grizzly bears.
A temporary camp is being established near the Kootenay National Park Administration Building in Radium Hot Springs, BC. Parks Canada crews from across the country and contract crews will be accommodated there and in Two Jack Main Campground in Banff. These fire camps will facilitate the management of the Verdant Creek wildfire.
As a part of long term proactive planning, containment lines are being re-established or built in three locations. At the north end of Kootenay National Park, the Vermilion Pass Guard is being re-established to provide a containment line. The guard was originally constructed during the 2003 fires on both sides of Highway 93 South near the Continental Divide. Further south, the BC Wildfire Service is working cooperatively with Parks Canada to develop containment lines on BC provincial lands in the Beaverfoot Valley and at Luxor Pass. Parks Canada continues to assess additional areas for long term strategic containment options to provide large fuel breaks to reduce fire spread in the unlikely event that they are required.
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;
Sunshine Village trails except Rock Isle, Twin Cairns, Meadow Park trails, and hikers must stay on trails;
All trails in the Egypt Lake area, including Healy Pass, Citadel Pass;
Brewster Creek area drainage;
Backcountry campgrounds Re16, Re21, E13, E5, Su8 and BW10.
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
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.
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.
Columbia Valley communities and businesses remain open. When Highway 93 South through Kootenay National Park is open, it is a safe and scenic route to the Columbia Valley. Should it be impacted by smoke or fire behaviour, alternate routes, such as Highways 1 and 95 through Golden, BC, add only approximately one additional hour of driving time. Please check www.DriveBC.ca and www.alberta511.ca to plan your route.
In Banff National Park:
All facilities except the trails and campgrounds in the closure areas are open;
The Sunshine Gondola, Upper Village facilities, Standish Chair and Viewing Deck Loop, Rock Isle, Twin Cairns, Meadow Park trails;
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:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
FOR CURRENT INFORMATION
Refer to our website 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