Parks Canada is reminding the public to stay vigilant of wildfires following extended warm weather and lightning over the past two weeks.
There are currently no active wildfires in Jasper National Park, but the fire danger is still sitting at high.
Having some rainfall within the last week helped to lower the fire danger, but with another wave of extreme heat, the fire danger is expected to rise again.
Parks Canada noted that the “undeniably eventful” lightning storm on July 1 had kept wildfire specialists busy.
“Some wildfire crew members said that it was the most lightning strikes they’ve ever seen,” Parks Canada stated in an update.
Wildfire specialists conducted patrols to check lightning strike locations but did not detect any smoke or fires.
“Fires can burn deep underground and may not be visible during initial smoke patrols, however. Until we receive more rain, wildfire staff will continue rechecking these lightning locations, making sure there are no sneaky fires burning.”
Jasper is always considered under a permanent fire ban, because fires are only allowed in metal fire pits and metal boxes only.
When Alberta was undergoing the intense heatwave, Parks Canada made the decision to have a fire ban for all day-use areas and backcountry campgrounds.
Campfires are currently only allowed in metal fire pits or boxes in front-country campgrounds and on private leases.
Parks Canada says it takes the threat of wildfires seriously and has fire protection that they use in their daily operations.
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper continue their work with the Firesmart program.
Parks Canada has a helicopter go out and do routine checks to try and stop a fire before it gets out of control.
It also works with Alberta Forestry, B.C. Wildfire Service and Parks Canada National Fire Program.
They share lessons learned from recent wildfires across Canada and they train together to prepare for wildfire emergencies.
A lot goes on behind the scenes that Parks Canada does to keep the community safe, but there are also things we can do to help keep yourself and your community.
Report any sign of wildfire to Parks Canada. Firesmart can begin within homes and to get help preparing your home contact the Municipality of Jasper.
You can also prepare an evacuation/emergency kit and download the Alberta Emergency Alert app so you can be ready for any emergency.
The best thing anyone can do is to be FireSmart, stay updated on wildfires in the area fire bans and the current fire danger level as well as be ready to go in the event of any emergency.
Helping out neighbours
The Government of Canada is sending 23 wildland fire management specialists with Parks Canada to British Columbia.
Two of these specialists are from Jasper National Park: Katie Ellsworth, fire management officer, and Caroline Roy, Internet content and new media officer.
“These recent days have been a very harsh reminder that even as we fight climate change, we must also adapt to its effects,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Environment and Climate Change and minister responsible for Parks Canada
“The Government of Canada is pleased to be contributing 25 of Parks Canada’s highly trained wildland fire management specialists to assist in managing the wildfires occurring in British Columbia and Alberta. The important work they will be doing will help keep communities safe.”
Seven wildland firefighters will conduct initial attacks on new fires, and the Incident Management personnel will take over management of one of the British Columbia fires.
These specialists will be in British Columbia for two weeks.
With files from Peter Shokeir
Ali Howat, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh