Evacuation advised for Waterton Lakes National Park

WATERTON — Parks Canada has issued a precautionary evacuation alert for all of Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta due to potential danger from an expanding wildfire.

Parks officials call it “a pre-emptive action” so they can be fully prepared if fire conditions change, saying they “want everyone to be prepared and safety is paramount.”

They say there is no immediate threat.

The Alberta government calls the evacuation “voluntary” and says it includes not just the National Park but the community of Waterton, which has a population of about 100 people.

The government’s emergency alert notes that “cottagers, campers and visitors are encouraged to leave the area.”

Parks Canada says the so-called Kenow fire, which was sparked by lightening in British Columbia, has started some small spot fires in the national park near Sage Pass.

A Parks Canada national incident management team is on site, along with three initial attack crews and five helicopters, with another crew expected on Wednesday.

The fire is about 65 square kilometres in size. Waterton National Park is located in the province’s southwest and borders Glacier National Park in Montana.

The townsite includes a historic railroad hotel called the Prince of Wales, which was construction in the 1920s by the Great Northern Railway of the U.S. to lure tourists during the prohibition era.

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