Wildfires close trails in Kootenay, Banff

Mount Wardle Fire activity following action by Parks Canada firefighters on August 7-8. Roslyn Johnson/Parks Canada photo.

Parks Canada has closed a number of trails in Kootenay and Banff National Parks due to wildfires that have been burning and expanding since late July.

The Mount Wardle Fire in Kootenay Park has had the biggest impact, resulting in partial closure of Highway 93S, and the closing of Kootenay Park Lodge and all trails in the core area of the park, including the popular Floe Lake and Rockwall Trail hikes.

Kootenay National Park

As of Friday evening, August 10, the following park trails are closed (trail numbers from the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 9th edition):

Tokumm Creek (164), Rockwall Trail (165), Helmet Creek (166), Tumbling Creek (167), Floe Lake (168), Numa Creek (169), Hawk Creek-Ball Pass (170), Honeymoon Pass-Verdant Creek (171), Simpson River (172), East Kootenay (173), West Kootenay (174), Dolly Varden (175), Dog Lake (176), Cobb Lake (178).

As of this posting, Highway 93S was closed to all traffic between Paint Pots and Settlers Road junction and, judging from the weather forecast, I’m not expecting any lifting of trail closures in the near future.

For the current highway status, check www.drivebc.com, and go to Kootenay Park Trail Reports for the latest on trail closures.

Banff National Park

The Porcupine Wildfire in Alberta’s Siffleur Wilderness Area has resulted in the closure of the Siffleur River and Dolomite Creek valleys in northeastern Banff National Park.

The fire was listed at circa 1500 hectares this week and moving up the Porcupine Creek drainage, and while there is no immediate threat that it will enter the national park, the North Molar-Pipestone-Dolomite Circuit (53) between Clearwater Pass Junction and Dolomite Pass will remain closed until further notice. Check the Banff National Park Trail Report for updates on this closure.

All mountain national parks enter the weekend (Aug 10-12) with extreme fire danger ratings and a campfire ban.