(Contributed Parks Canada photo).

Banff National Park wildfire is no risk to communities

Sunshine Village to reopen, but many trails remain close

The Banff National Park fire has been contained, allowing for the re-opening of Sunshine Village and its gondola to the public as of Monday, July 24.

Hiking trails near Sunshine Village remain closed, however, and a fire ban remains in effect in Banff and Kootenay National Parks due to the elevated fire danger and to prevent the possibility of human-caused fires.

Backcountry area closures also remain in place in the Verdant Creek area of Kootenay National Park and in the Egypt Lake and Brewster Creek areas of Banff National Park.

Parks Canada is continuing to actively manage the Verdant Creek Wildfire. Park crews have made good progress in keeping the fire from spreading to high-risk areas. Fire management specialists are confident that the fire is not a risk to communities in the Bow Valley.

The blaze remains on the west side of the Continental Divide, approximately 24 km from the Town of Banff and approximately 2.5 km from Sunshine Village.

All highways in Banff and Kootenay national parks remain open. But backcountry camping permits within the Banff and Kootenay National Park closure areas remain cancelled until further notice. Individuals with backcountry reservations should contact 403-762-1556 or visit a Parks Canada Visitor Centre.

The BC Wildfire Service is taking management actions for parts of the fire in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park that relate to their infrastructure. For more information: www.bcwildfire.ca

Parks workers are reminding citizens that it is illegal to fly an unmanned air vehicle (UAV, or drone) in a national park. Flying a drone or UAV during fire management operations is extremely hazardous. It endangers fire management personnel and aircraft, and impedes the important work they’re doing. People who attempt to fly drones in these areas can face fines of up to $25,000 under the Canada National Parks Act.

Parks staff want to reassure visitors that the safety of the public and the protection of park infrastructure and neighbouring lands is Parks Canada’s first priority.

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