Today, fire managers will begin to ignite a 1200 hectare “Y-Camp” burn unit. It is east of the Waterton River, south of Hwy 5/6, between Chief Mountain Highway and where the Lower Waterton Lake meets the Dardanelles. Ignition operations may take up to two days.
The purpose of this prescribed fire is to restore native prairie by reducing aspen and evergreen tree expansion onto grasslands. Historic photographs show that fire suppression has allowed trees to encroach on park grasslands, with as much as 30% of grasslands lost over the last 100 years. The Y-Camp unit was previously burned in 2008.
- Smoke and flames will be visible from a long distance. Staff, visitors and local residents who see this may report one of these planned burns as a wildfire.
- Fire managers expect minimal smoke impact during burning operations, but smoke may settle overnight and into the morning. There is a chance that smoke may drift to areas adjacent to the
- Parks Canada staff will monitor Highways 5 and 6, and implement a temporary speed zone if necessary. Motorists on will be alerted that a prescribed fire is in progress, and asked not to stopfor highway safety.
Restrictions and Closures
Temporary area closures are in place during burn operations:
- The area between Chief Mountain Highway and where the Lower Waterton Lake meets the Dardanelles, including the Maskinonge overlook and Maskinonge picnic site; and from the Park Gate to Marquis Hole, including Wishbone trail.
- The Chief Mountain Highway and Belly River Campground
Parks Canada’s prescribed fire program is supporting Canada’s National Conservation Plan, making tangible improvements to the environmental health of these special places. This is done by bringing fire back to the landscape under planned circumstances.
Source Parks Canada/Waterton