Canada Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches

04:07  09 september  2017
04:07  09 september  2017 Source:   cbc.ca

Waterton Lakes backcountry closed due to nearby wildfire

  Waterton Lakes backcountry closed due to nearby wildfire A nearby wildfire and an extreme fire hazard have forced Parks Canada to shut down all backcountry use in Waterton Lakes National Park until further notice. The townsite remains open, but all off-trial hiking, scrambling and climbing in the park is prohibited. Crandell campground and all backcountry campgrounds are closed, as is the Red Rock Parkway.Visitors can still access the Cameron Lake day-use area, but any use of the lake is prohibited.

A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite in southwestern Alberta due to the approaching Kenow wildfire in British Columbia.

WATERTON — Approaching wildfires have prompted officials to order a mandatory evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park Friday. Issued at 2 p.m. by Parks Canada, the order comes as strong winds push flames from a large wildfire in B.C

There is a mandatory evacuation in effect for Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite due to the approaching Kenow wildfire in British Columbia. © Kyle Muzyka/CBC There is a mandatory evacuation in effect for Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite due to the approaching Kenow wildfire in British Columbia. A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite in southwestern Alberta as the Kenow wildfire in British Columbia approaches.

Residents and visitors must leave the area immediately, officials said as the evacuation order was issued Friday afternoon.

Waterton has a year-round population of only 105, according to the 2016 census, but its rugged mountain peaks and emerald lakes draw hundreds if not thousands of visitors a day in the summer months.

Alberta town empty except for firefighters

  Alberta town empty except for firefighters WATERTON, Alta. - A town in an Alberta national park that would normally still be teeming with late summer visitors is now empty except for emergency workers who are preparing to save its buildings from a wildfire. "The only people left in town are for firefighting purposes," RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said Saturday from the Waterton townsite, a day after Parks Canada ordered the evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park. "The only people left in town are for firefighting purposes," RCMP Cpl. Curtis Peters said Saturday from the Waterton townsite, a day after Parks Canada ordered the evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park.

WATERTON , Alta. — A popular national park in the southwestern corner of Alberta was under a mandatory evacuation order Friday because a forecasted shift in wind was expected to heighten the wildfire danger.

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Hotel manager Kevin Hicks was checking over the doors and windows at the Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort with his last remaining 10 staff members Friday afternoon when the evacuation order landed.

All of the guests had left by that point, Hicks said, after officials issued an alert on Sept. 5 warning that they made need to evacuate.

"It's a bit of excitement, and kind of a lot of sadness in everybody here, too, that we have to leave. And we're all thinking about Waterton Park," he said.

Hicks said leaving their homes is especially difficult, not knowing what will remain when they come back, or even when that will be.

"Are we gonna be coming back soon?" he asked.

Change in weather sparks evacuation

The Kenow wildfire started west of Waterton last week after a lightning strike in the Flathead Valley just across the border in B.C., and is currently not contained, officials said Friday afternoon.

Parks Canada evacuates Waterton support staff as wildfire advances

  Parks Canada evacuates Waterton support staff as wildfire advances Parks Canada evacuates Waterton support staff as wildfire advancesWATERTON — Parks Canada support staff are being ordered out as wildfire incursion into Waterton Lakes National Park becomes an almost certainty.

Waterton Lakes National Park is under an evacuation alert as a wildfire burns on its western edge. Within the park , the fire was approximately 0.5 hectares as of Monday. Prepare to evacuate .

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It has expanded to more than 7,800 hectares in size and has advanced into Waterton Lakes National Park.

Authorities say a change in weather conditions has led to increased potential danger and hazards from the Kenow wildfire that necessitate the evacuation of the park.

Parks Canada is working closely with wildfire and emergency management partners in the region to manage the fire.

Critical information for evacuees

Parks Canada advises evacuees to go to the reception centre at the Vertical Church on 1200 Ken ThorntonBlvd. in Pincher Creek, Alta., to check-in and get information.

Evacuees can also check-in by phone at 403-904-0021 or by e-mailing mdinfo@mdpinchercreek.ab.ca.

The park has been closed to all incoming traffic except emergency vehicles. Highways 5 and 6 and the Chief Mountain Border crossing remain open.

Smoke from the wildfire may cause visibility issues for people leaving the area, so officials urge motorists to take extra caution on the roads. © Sarah Lawrnyuik/CBC Smoke from the wildfire may cause visibility issues for people leaving the area, so officials urge motorists to take extra caution on the roads.

Fleeing residents should close all windows and doors and shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers.

Parks Canada says to take critical items such as medicine, keys and wallets only if they are immediately available.

Emergency personnel will check all houses and locations and mark them when cleared.

Ranch near Waterton burned down by wildfire .
Ranch near Waterton burned down by wildfire"We'll get everything back up and running as soon as we possibly can and we'll continue to ranch in that area for many more generations," said Melody Garner-Skiba, who has considered the Rocking Heart Ranch home since she was nine years old.

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