About 1,000 Evacuated from Maligne Valley in Jasper National Park over Fire

The Canadian Press, July 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

About 1,000 Evacuated from Maligne Valley in Jasper National Park over Fire


Wildfire held in Jasper National Park

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JASPER, Alta. - About 1,000 tourists and outdoor enthusiasts have been evacuated from the picturesque Maligne Valley in the Alberta Rockies due to a large wildlife, a Parks Canada spokeswoman said late Friday.

Lightning is believed to have sparked what is being called the Excelsior fire, which flared up Thursday and grew to about 50 square kilometres by Friday.

Kim Weir of Parks Canada said favourable weather conditions had slowed the growth of the out-of-control blaze, but she warned the fire could continue to expand as weather conditions change over the weekend.

Parks officials began an evacuation of the valley on Thursday, using helicopters to ferry out back-country hikers and campers and escorting day-use tourists in a convoy down smoky roads in the area.

Some who were in campgrounds not near the blaze were told to stay put on Thursday night and leave the next day.

"The Maligne Valley evacuation is now complete," said Weir. "We have everyone out and they're safe and sound. Everything went very smoothly."

She noted that no tourist facilities were at risk and crews had set up sprinklers to protect buildings in the popular Maligne Lake area.

Maligne Lake itself and its iconic Spirit Island, a tiny clutch of trees surrounded by a ring of majestic mountains, three glaciers and pristine blue water, are 15 kilometres away from the blaze. …

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