Gateway Gazette

Evacuation Order Issued for Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, September 8, 2017 – Parks Canada has issued an immediate evacuation order for Waterton Lakes National Park, including Waterton Park townsite, and all front-country and back-country trails, facilities, and areas as a result of significant public safety risk from the Kenow wildfire. The park has been closed to all incoming traffic except emergency vehicles.

The safety of visitors to Waterton Lakes National Park, residents of Waterton, employees, fire crews and emergency responders is a top priority for Parks Canada. A change in weather conditions has led to increased potential danger and hazards from the Kenow wildfire that necessitate the evacuation of the park.

Parks Canada is working closely with the RCMP to ensure visitors, businesses, and employees in Waterton Lakes National Park have the information they need to safely evacuate the area. An Evacuation Reception Centre has been established in the neighbouring community of Pincher Creek. The Agency sincerely thanks everyone for their cooperation.

Parks Canada is doing everything it can to slow or contain the wildfire. Parks Canada has extensive fire protection measures installed at critical infrastructure, park resources and in the townsite. Our current priorities are: the safety of the public and employees, protection of infrastructure critical to firefighting efforts, and facility protection.

The Kenow wildfire started west of Waterton Lakes National Park in the Flathead Valley and is currently not contained. It has expanded to over 7,800 hectares in size and has advanced into Waterton Lakes National Park. Parks Canada is working closely with wildfire and emergency management partners in the region responding to the Kenow wildfire.

Pursuant to Section 36(1) of the National Parks General Regulations of the Canada National Parks Act an Evacuation Order has been issued by order of the Superintendent due to a temporary danger to persons caused by the ongoing wildfire in the park. Members of the RCMP and Parks Canada staff will be expediting this action. Persons deemed essential to the firefighting operation are exempt from this order.

The Evacuation Order is in effect for the following areas:

  • All areas in Waterton Lakes National Park, including the Waterton Park townsite and all front-country and back-country trails, facilities and areas except for Highways 5 and 6 and the Chief Mountain border crossing.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

  • You must leave the area immediately;
  • Follow the travel route provided on the map (see below);
  • If you need transportation assistance to leave Waterton, please (a) advise the individual providing you with this in-person notice, (b) go to Waterton Park Community Centre or (c) call 403-859-5109 if you cannot do (a) or (b);
  • Close all windows and doors;
  • Shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers;
  • Close gates (latch) but do not lock;
  • Gather your family: take a neighbour or someone who needs help;
  • Take critical items (medicine, purse, wallet, important documents, and keys) only if they are immediately available;
  • Take pets in pet kennels or on leash;
  • Do not use the telephone unless you need emergency service;
  • Emergency personnel will check all houses and locations and mark them when cleared;
  • Travel will only be permitted out of the park. Admittance at the Waterton Lakes National Park gate will be limited to emergency vehicles.
  • All evacuees are strongly recommended to register at the Reception and Evacuation Centre located in Pincher Creek at the Vertical Church (1200 Ken Thornton Blvd., located just south of Co-Op and Vista Village), even if you do not require assistance. Registering will provide a record that you were evacuated and enable authorities to contact you with any new information. You can register by email to mdinfo@mdpinchercreek.ab.ca (put in subject line: “Evac Registration”) or by phoning 403-904-0021. Please provide name, number in party and contact phone number.

 

YOU MUST LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY

For more details call our Information Line at 403-859-5109.

 

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