Jasper Park's Excelsior Creek Fire sweeps across a slope above the Maligne Lake Road (road visible in lower right corner). Parks Canada photo.

Jasper Park’s Excelsior Creek Fire sweeps across a slope above the Maligne Lake Road (road visible in lower right corner). Parks Canada photo.

A wildfire in Jasper Park’s Maligne Valley has resulted in the closure of the Skyline Trail and the evacuation of several hiking parties from that popular backpacking route, several by helicopter. A number of other trails that originate from the Maligne Lake Road have also been closed.

The Excelsior Creek Fire, which was about 250 hectares when it was discovered just north of Medicine Lake on Thursday afternoon (July 9), had grown to 5,000 hectares by Friday. The Maligne Lake Road is also closed and visitors and staff have been evacuated.

While helicopters are working on the fire, it is still listed as out of control. Areas beyond the Maligne Valley are currently unaffected except for smoke haze, but a fire ban has been instituted for all of Jasper National Park.

Hikers with reservations on the Skyline Trail should expect the trail to remain closed for the foreseeable future. Trails affected by the Maligne Lake Road closure include the Maligne Canyon trail system, Overlander Trail, Watchtower, Jacques Lake, Opal Hills, Bald Hills and other trails in the Maligne Lake vicinity.

Though not directly affected by the fire, the Celestine Lake-North Boundary and Whirlpool-Athabasca Pass trails are also closed for the time being due to extreme fire hazard and weather conditions.

For updates on the fire situation, you can link to Park’s Canada’s Information on Excelsior Wildfire.