Alberta national park once again facing wildfire threat

Alberta national park once again facing wildfire threat

-Canada border enough for Canadian officials to lift an evacuation order issued last week for Waterton Lakes National Park.

The town of Waterton remained open, as well as Highway 5/6, including the entrance road to the town and Chief Mountain Highway.

Friday is predicted to be a "dynamic" weather day for the Howe Ridge Fire, with gusty winds expected as a cold front moves through the area, with possible thunderstorms in the northern portions of Glacier National Park.

The Waterton townsite is the only part of the park that remains open.

"Parks Canada has deployed two helicopters and an attack team that will be used Friday to slow the spread of fire eastward toward Waterton Lake, as conditions permit", Parks Canada said.

Much of Glacier's famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road has been closed since August 12 because of a fire that has burned more than 19 square miles (50 square kilometres) and destroyed historic cabins and other structures around Lake McDonald.

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Those realities shifted the focus to clearing all hikers out of the surrounding backcountry - trails and campgrounds - on both sides of the border, and on protecting 14 structures at Glacier's Goat Haunt Ranger Station, which sits on the edge of Upper Waterton Lake.

The Alberta Emergency Alert service issued a bulletin Monday morning to say Parks Canada had cancelled the evacuation standby, noting that the Boundary fire has received 20 mm of precipitation, partially suppressing the blaze. The evacuation alert remained in place on Saturday afternoon.

Stoesser says despite the evacuation alert, the park's townsite was still quite busy.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road remains closed from Apgar to Logan Pass. Multiple trail closures are associated with this fire.

Fire restrictions: Glacier National Park and most of western Montana are under Stage II Fire Restrictions. No campfires are permitted in Glacier's frontcountry or backcountry. That means the ripple effects of the fires extend beyond the park. Propane stoves that have an on/off switch are permitted.

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