A wildfire in the Verdant Creek area has forced the closure of parts of Banff and Kootenay National Parks west of Calgary.

The closure includes:

  • The area east of Highway 93S (Kootenay Parkway) from the Verdant Creek Trail to the Simpson River Trail to the height of land on Haiduk Peak.
  • The Whistling Valley Trail, Pharoah Creek Trail and all trails in the Egypt Lake and Healy Pass areas, including Healy Pass Trail.

​The closure applies to backcountry users, including campers and day hikers.

Officials spent most of Saturday evacuating people from the area and contacting those with a backcountry reservation to say they have been cancelled until at least Tuesday.

The closure could be extended if the fire persists.

Verdant Creek fire closure

A map showing the areas closed in Banff and Kootenay National Parks due to a wildfire in the Verdant Creek area. (Parks Canada)

"We do hope that things will be back to normal in the next few days but we really don't know, it depends on how the weather goes," said Parks Canada spokesperson Natalie Fay.

Those with backcountry reservations can call 403-762-1556 or go to a Parks Canada Visitor Centre.

Forest fires have also been ravaging parts of British Columbia in recent days. 

Banff fire

Smoke can be seen from Spray Meadow near Banff. (Louise Degagné )