WATERTON LAKES NP -- Saturday, September 8, evening UPDATE: Aerial suppression of the Boundary Wildfire continued into Saturday (Sept 8) evening. Three Parks Canada helicopters and one U.S. heavy helicopter bucketed water on the east perimeter of the wildfire throughout the day. Despite windy conditions, the action was able to suppress fire activity on hot spots and limit fire growth.
U.S. and Canadian fire managers have been responding to the wildfire since it was first observed on August 23. Fire activity increased due to dry and windy conditions on Friday (Sept 7) and burned across the U.S. / Canada border and into Waterton Lakes for the first time since the wildfire started.
The Deputy Incident Commander of the U.S. Northern Rockies Incident Management Team (IMT) is stationed in Waterton Lakes National Park, working closely with Parks Canada Fire Managers.
The IMT has 21 firefighters assigned to this fire and stationed at Goat Haunt. Once the eastern hot spots are knocked down by heli-bucketing, and it is safe to do so, ground crews will assess the spots and determine future actions.
Waterton’s initial attack crew has prepared pumps, hoses and portable water tanks that enable firefighters to draw water from Boundary Creek and suppress the wildfire from the ground. Two Parks Canada initial attack crews (8 firefighters) will be in Waterton by Sunday morning, to work on the fire line on the north side of Boundary Creek.
Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton townsite remain open. Parks Canada has closed the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds due to the wildfire activity in the area.
Friday, Sepmber 7: Within days of the first anniversary of the Kenow fire, flames are again ravaging Waterton Lakes National Park. This time – from the south.
Parks Canada reports that around 3:00-pm Friday (Sept 7), the dry, windy conditions pushed the Boundary Creek fire in Glacier National Park northward and across the border.
Extreme fire has burned most of the basin on the southwest facing slope of Mount Richards and the south and east facing slopes of Mount Alderson. The blaze moved along the Boundary Valley, stopping at an avalanche path. However, two spot fires burned beyond the east perimeter of the fire in the valley.
Helicopter water buckets were used on the east perimeter during the afternoon and when the wind dropped, a second helicopter was activated until night fall.
An Incident Management Team and 19 Firefighters are stationed at Boundary Bay Backcountry Campground. Parks Canada and U.S. fire managers are coordinating efforts. Saturday’s expected high wind will impact firefighting as crews attempt to hold the fire at an avalanche path. Further details on the fire’s path won’t be known until daylight.
As of 10:30 Friday night, the fire had burned about 1,100 hectares and was considered out of control.
Parks Canada has closed the Bertha Lake Trail, the Lakeshore Trail and the Bertha Lake and Bertha Bay Backcountry Campgrounds due to the wildfire activity in the area.
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