(The Canadian Press)

Helicopters holding fire that’s crossed into Canada 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

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

How to stay safe in the Nakusp backcountry: BCSARA

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association recommends planning, training and taking the essentials

Skier caught in backcountry avalanche near Rossland

‘The man was lucky he had the ‘A-Team’ of ski patrol people able to respond as quickly as they did,’ says Rossland rescue spokesperson

Kootenays unemployment rate best in B.C.

In one year, the region has gone from highest unemployment rate to lowest, at 3.1 per cent

Nakusp search and rescue group seeks volunteers

Senior Nakusp SAR member Ross Shkuratoff says the group is on the lookout for new members

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

BREAKING: Jury finds man accused of killing B.C. girl, 12, guilty

Twelve-year-old Monica Jack disappeared in May 1978 while riding her bike along a highway in Merritt, B.C.

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Most Read