Wildfire leads to closures in west country

By Jessie Weisner (Twitter: @Jessie__Weisner)
August 2, 2018 - 8:22am Updated: August 3, 2018 - 9:46am

The current wildfire in the Rocky Forest Area has caused closures of multiple recreation areas and hiking trails.

The 570-hectare wildfire in the Siffleur Wilderness area is currently under control, but the risk is still there, according to provincial officials.

“Given the current weather conditions and the resources that we have fighting that wildfire, it’s not expected to grow past that size at this time,” says Derek Gagnon, Wildfire Information Officer with Alberta Wildfire.

Alberta Parks has issued a temporary closure of the Siffleur Falls hiking trail, Kootenay Planes Staging Area and Kootenay Planes ecological reserve.

Parks Canada has also closed the area near Siffleur River trail, North of the Clearwater Pass Junction and the Dolomite Pass trail North of Helen Lake.

“At this time no hiking or random back country camping is permitted in those areas as a precaution because crews are there fighting that wildfire,” says Gagnon.

With the August long weekend approaching, some are concerned about a possible fire ban. However, Gagnon says there likely won’t be one in place.

“There’s been nothing that I have heard of that is currently planned, but that being said it’s possible for fire bans or restrictions to be put in place on relatively short notice.”

Although the current wildfire danger rating in the Rocky Forest Area is ‘moderate’ there are still precautions campers should take to prevent a wildfire.

“If there is no restriction or ban in place we encourage Albertans to be safe when they’re doing that, never leaving a campfire unattended and if they are going to be walking away from that campfire to soak the ashes, stir them and soak them again to make sure that the fires completely out.”

If you know of a wildfire, call 310-FIRE to notify authorities. You can also visit wildfire.alberta.ca for more details on the current wildfire situation across the province. 

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