Verdant Creek fire west of Banff still burning but largely contained
Parks Canada says smoke will continue for weeks but likely not in large 'pulses' any more
Parks Canada says the Verdant Creek fire just west of Banff National Park has been largely contained but will likely burn for several more weeks.
"The fire hasn't grown in size since Aug. 6 and we've been able to contain some of those places that we're most concerned about," incident commander Jed Cochrane said Tuesday.
The flames first ignited in July after a lightning strike and have since encompassed 15,500 hectares, Cochrane said, classifying it as a large wildfire.
Parks Canada's priorities include protecting Highway 93 South and preventing the fire from spreading into the Kootenay Valley or jumping over the Continental Divide into Banff National Park.
Smoke from the fire is expected to last for weeks, but Cochrane said large "pulses" of smoke like those that were seen earlier in the summer are now far less likely.
"We may be at the end of those, but there's no guarantee," he said.
About 85 firefighters are battling the blaze, with the help of 40 pilots and support staff, Cochrane said.
Roughly 350 people have been involved in fighting the flames since July.
Cochrane said the fire season is winding down, which should make things easier on the firefighters.
"Temperatures overnight are getting a lot cooler. It's going to be close to freezing at a lot of these high-elevation spots. As we move into September, those big fire days are going to become more rare," he said.
"And so, I would suspect by the middle of September, end of September, hopefully we'll stop seeing fire spread."
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