Canada Waterton newlyweds spend honeymoon trying to make family cottage safe from wildfire

16:08  12 september  2017
16:08  12 september  2017 Source:   Calgary Herald

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.

Waterton newlyweds spend honeymoon trying to make family cottage safe from wildfire . Just days after Rod and Tracy Leland were married on the lawn of his family ’s cabin in Waterton Lakes National Park, the newlyweds were loading up to evacuate.

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091117-no_object-59021148-IMG_88-W.jpg:   © Willow + Wolf Photography  

It wasn’t exactly the honeymoon they’d dreamed of.

Just days after Rod and Tracy Leland were married on the lawn of his family’s cabin in Waterton Lakes National Park, the newlyweds were loading up to evacuate.

The cabin, Rod said, is more than just a mere holiday cottage.

“It’s so important to every single member of our family,” Leland said. “Some of our most cherished memories come from here.”

His family, he said, was the original leaseholder of the property inside the southwestern Alberta national park.

“There hasn’t been a year in my 30 years when I haven’t been down there.”

Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches

  Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches Waterton Lakes National Park ordered to evacuate as wildfire approachesResidents and visitors must leave the area immediately, officials said as the evacuation order was issued Friday afternoon.

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An evacuation order was issued Friday by Parks Canada as the Kenow wildfire just over the continental divide threatened to spread into the park.

Instead of celebrating their new union as a couple, they cut brush, cleared deadfall and placed sprinklers on the cabin’s roof.

“I headed out with a chainsaw and a rake and started working,” he said.

“One of my family members echoed it probably was not the honeymoon we were expecting — but it’s without a question that that’s what we would start doing, because it’s trying to protect something that’s so important to us.”

Then, on Friday, he joined everyone else when Parks Canada gave the order to evacuate.

As he awaits news of the townsite’s fate, he says he couldn’t be more confident in the ability and skill of the teams of firefighters left to protect their homes.

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“Without a doubt,” Leland said. “You see all the pumps and all the hoses in place — to be met with this level of preparation, it feels extremely robust, and that’s inspiring as a bystander.”

While he feels resigned to wait it out, he does so with optimism.

“It’s not sadness yet, nothing has gone wrong,” Leland said. “I literally can’t think of a way that more preparation or work could go into ensuring Waterton is safe.”

At the end of it all, there’s little for Leland to do but wait and hope for the best.

“The sentiment amongst our family is that we’ve done absolutely everything we could possibly do,” he said.

“We were, and continue to be, astounded at the level of preparedness and organization, and the number of resources that are going into protecting the townsite.

“It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be.”

bpassifiume@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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.

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