Two wildfires converge; creates 1,000 hectare wildfire in national park

Two wildfires converge; creates 1,000 hectare wildfire in national park

Vermillion Valley lightning-strike wildfires merge; road closures in effect

Two wildfires have converged in Kootenay National Park, creating an estimated 1,000 hectare fire.

According to Parks Canada, the two lightning-ignited fires in the Vermillion Valley south of Vermillion Crossing, combined Wednesday, August 1st. The fire is now being referred to as the Wardle wildfire, invading Vermillion Valley, Kootenay Valley, and into the Bow Valley of Banff National Park on Lipalian Mountain.

Nine helicopters and firefighters from parks Canada and B.C. have been deployed to the site.

“The safety of the public, our crews, infrastructure and neighbouring lands is Parks Canada’s top priority. Road closures, area closures and evacuation orders are in place,” states a Parks Canada press release.

A partial closure remains in place for Highway 93 due to the fire. Radium Hot Pools is still accessible from the south end of the park via Radium, as well as Mcleod Meadows. In the north, access to Paint Pots from Castle Junction is open.

Kootenay Park Lodge was also evacuated due to the proximity of the Wardle fire to the lodge.

A fire ban has been implemented for Kootenay, Yoho, and Banff national parks due to elevated fire danger.

Alternate routes to the Columbia Valley are available via the TransCanada Highway through Golden, or south via the Crowsnest Pass. See www.drivebc.ca for detailed road closure information.