(The Canadian Press)

Helicopters holding fire that’s crossed into Alberta at avalanche path

Dry and windy conditions Friday afternoon pushed the Boundary Wildfire north across the border

Crews battling a wildfire near the U.S. border in Alberta are hoping an avalanche path will prevent the flames from spreading further into a national park that was badly burned last year.

Dry and windy conditions Friday afternoon pushed the Boundary Wildfire north across the border for the first time into Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta.

Parks Canada says in a news release the area received a small amount of rain overnight, but it was so small that it couldn’t be measured, and Saturday’s forecast called for strong winds and sun.

John Stoesser, a spokesman for Parks Canada, says the flames have reached a stretch of mountainside that has been swept mostly bare of trees by winter avalanches.

Stoesser says sparks have crossed the avalanche zone and ignited spot fires on the eastern side.

He says helicopters are dumping water on those spot fires to keep them from growing and burning further through the Boundary Valley towards the Waterton Valley.

“When the fire burns through those coniferous trees leading towards the avalanche path, those are a little bit more flammable. But then when it reaches that avalanche path, there’s not as much trees there, there’s not as much vegetation there so the fire activity slows right down when it gets to that line,” Stoesser said in an interview Saturday.

“So that’s why it’s a good place to drop water from the helicopters.”

READ MORE: B.C. Wildfire Service says smoke still concern despite fewer blazes

READ MORE: Myths and facts about fighting wildfires

READ MORE: ‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

Parks Canada said two helicopters were on the job at the avalanche boundary on Saturday and that a third chopper was on its way.

Stoesser said it’s an aerial effort at this point, since it’s steep, rocky terrain. Once the flames are knocked down a bit, he said firefighters can go into the area and do what they can from the ground.

Waterton was devastated a year ago by a wildfire which consumed more than 190-square kilometres within the park and led to a two-week mandatory evacuation.

An evacuation alert was issued last month for Waterton Lakes National Park due to the fire that’s been burning on the U.S side in Glacier National Park, but the alert was later lifted when the area got rain.

A Parks Canada news release on Saturday said the agency and U.S. fire managers are working together and are in constant communication about fire activity and response.

The fire is estimated to be about 11-square kilometres in size.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Remember to vote for your candidate: MLA Strankman

Voting from Sept. 27 - 29 in six communities

Summer jobs good for teens: Peter Boys

Teens who work summer jobs end up with better jobs later on

Our Town Stettler: Stettler Independent fire didn’t stop the presses

Regular issue came out on schedule the following week

A Red Deer woman dies in a crash east of Stettler

Police continue to investigate collision

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

It’s shaping up to be quite a finish in CFL’s West Division standings

The Calgary Stampeders (10-2) are first, four points ahead of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-5).

Twice-convicted killer set to inherit multimillion-dollar company found guilty of father’s murder

A Toronto judge ruled that Dellen Millard is guilty of first-degree murder in death of his father,

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Senate seats filled in B.C., Saskatchewan

Canada’s newest senators are the first woman to lead the RCMP and a Cree Metis businessman

Newfoundland’s popular ‘merb’ys’ calendar is back

The calendar of burly, bearded mermen posing against scenic backdrops for charity returns

Most Read