(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

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

BC Bus North service extended to September

Transportation ministers have extended the service, which was set to expire at the end of May

Annual 100 Mile House Easter Egg Hunt a great success

Around 200 kids showed up to scavenge for chocolate

Woman dies after suffering ‘medical event’ while driving north of Lac la Hache

Initial report was that an older female had driven into the side of a hill, was not responsive

Cariboo Women’s Fair returns with new organizer

The sixth annual event will take place on May 3 and 4 at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Most Read