Grid power restored in Jasper, Alta., after wildfire damage, vistors invited back

·2 min read
Atco Electric crews have been able to restore power to the town of Jasper after transmission lines were damaged by the wildfire burning on Chetamon Mountain in Jasper National Park. (Submitted by Parks Canada - image credit)
Atco Electric crews have been able to restore power to the town of Jasper after transmission lines were damaged by the wildfire burning on Chetamon Mountain in Jasper National Park. (Submitted by Parks Canada - image credit)

Normal power supply has been restored for Jasper, Alta., and the Chetamon Mountain wildfire does not pose a risk to any communities, officials shared in a Wednesday update.

The town in Jasper National Park had been switched to generators due to transmission lines being taken out by the wildfire.

Amid intermittent power outages, residents were asked to conserve electricity as Atco Electricity switched the town to a generator power supply. The town, about 360 kilometres west of Edmonton, was expected to stay on generators for weeks.

"We are very happy to report that Atco was successful in switching Jasper from the temporary generator system back to the transmission line," Mayor Richard Ireland during a news conference on Wednesday.

"Jasper now has sufficient, stable and reliable power."

Ireland said the wildfire poses no risk to the town at this point.

"We are able and eager to safely welcome visitors back to the community," he said.

The wildfire, which ignited Sept. 1, is estimated to be around 6,000 hectares. About 100 firefighters and five helicopters are working on the fire.

The situation has been improving despite dry, hot conditions over the weekend, according to Landon Shepherd, Parks Canada deputy incident commander of the Chetamon Mountain wildfire.

"We were able to still keep the fire growth limited on both the critical north and south ends of the fire," Shepherd said.

He said there has not been any further threats to critical infrastructure. Firefighters and Atco crews have been able to get into the fire area to repair transmission lines.

Visitors, campers welcomed back

The wildfire disrupted tourism in the park, but Tourism Jasper president and CEO James Jackson said he's grateful for the flexibility visitors and the travel industry showed during the fire threat.

"They literally rerouted trains, planes and automobiles all over the world to accommodate this situation and we really, really appreciate it. So knowing that, and knowing the degree that they went through — I'll just ask that visitors be a little patient as things get back to normal over the next week.

Parks Canada liaison officer Jasmine Ramratan said services that were limited in response to the wildfire will be restored as soon as possible.

Ramratan said people will be able to start making reservations for Whistlers Campground through the Parks Canada system starting on Sept. 20th, and bookings will be available until Oct. 10th.

She said some limited services at the campground will be available starting Sept. 16th.

Parks Canada is keeping all other frontcountry campgrounds closed for the season.

The back country reservation system will also be reopening, Ramratan said. She said all hiking trails not within the zone where the wildfire is still burning are open and have not been damaged.