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Wildfire closes much of Waterton Lakes National Park

Much of Waterton Lakes National Park is closed as a wildfire burns out of control in the Boundary Creek Valley.
The townsite, Highway 5/6 including the entrance road to the townsite and Chief Mountain Highway remain open.
The fire started Thursday evening west of Upper Waterton Lake in Glacier National Park.
Parks Canada received a report of smoke at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday. Soon after a helicopter patrol spotted a wildfire near Boundary Creek in Glacier National Park.
The wildfire was exhibiting extreme behaviour caused by strong winds and dry fuel.
The fire grew quickly, from initial reports of about 20 hectares to 100 hectares within an hour, and at 500 hectares in two hours.
Initial air attack resources assessed the situation and determined that air suppression would not be successful due to the conditions.
Due to the wildfire’s behaviour and location and weather predictions last night, Parks Canada issued an evacuation alert for all of Waterton Lakes National Park.
All backcountry areas and hiking trails in Waterton Lakes National Park are closed.
Parks Canada staff evacuated backcountry campgrounds and swept trails in Waterton Thursday evening.
The evacuation alert was shared door-to-door throughout the community of Waterton Park, on social media and through Alberta Emergency Alerts.
Waterton Lakes and Glacier national parks monitored the wildfire throughout the night from Upper Waterton Lake.
The wildfire is about 700 hectares in size but that may change once it is more accurately mapped.
As of Friday morning the fire is still south of the international border in Glacier National Park, U.S.
Parks Canada and the U.S. National Park Service are co-ordinating efforts closely.
Air resources will be used today to slow the spread of fire eastward toward Waterton Lake, as conditions permit. Glacier National Park Air Attack is over the fire at this time.
Glacier National Park is implementing structure protection measures in the Goat Haunt area.
Parks Canada is installing structure protection at Boundary Bay and Bertha Bay backcountry campgrounds.
Parks Canada will bring in additional structural protection resources to the Waterton townsite if required.
As of 10 a.m. Friday winds shifted and are blowing from the north. Today’s weather forecast is calling for potential rain, increased relative humidity and lower temperatures beginning this evening.
The Waterton townsite remains open, but visitors are advised that the evacuation alert is still in effect.
Updates will be posted on Waterton Lakes National Park’s “Important Bulletins” page on the park Web site, and the park’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Additional information about wildfires in the national mountain parks is available at www.parkscanada.ca/fire.

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