A look inside Waterton Lakes NP as weather conditions improve

By Lethbridge News Now (Patrick Burles)
September 13, 2017 - 5:54pm

WATERTON LAKES NP – Improving weather conditions, which have aided in the battle against the Kenow wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park, allowed Parks Canada officials to take the media into Waterton Lakes National Park this afternoon (Sept. 13).

Just inside the park boundary, wildfire information officer Leslie Lozinski spoke with Lethbridge News Now, referring to large swaths of charred earth as she discussed how the fire moved through the area on Monday and Tuesday.

“You can see in some areas it burned right down to mineral soil, in others there are still standing trees. The fire went through at quite a clip, it was pretty aggressive fire behaviour that day, and we're pretty lucky today that we've got a bit of a downturn in the weather. So, we're standing here shivering, but it's good for the fire, it's calmed down a lot,” stated Lozinski.

Those weather conditions now have Parks Canada saying the Waterton townsite is no longer under direct threat from the Kenow wildfire. The M.D. of Pincher Creek is also planning re-entry for some evacuated residents.

Lozinski also discussed the situation in the south Castle, saying the fire on that front is about 500 hectares. She noted that as long as wind speeds stay down, they’re hoping to keep it at that size.

“South Castle is still doing a good job to try and hold things where they are, that fire didn't see any growth yesterday,” stated Lozinski. “We had medium helicopters bucketing on it this morning, the cloud cover is pretty low today, so we weren't able to get air tankers in there and the heavy helicopter couldn't work. But the other helicopters are doing a great job in there working, trying to hold that fire on the west side of Sage Mountain.”

As for conditions going into the evening, Lozinski says it all comes back to Mother Nature.

“As long as the winds stay like this, we'll be able to keep crews working on the fire. If the winds get too strong, then the helicopters won't be able to fly and it won't be safe for the ground crews to work in there as well. But hopefully we'll just be able to keep going until dark.”

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