Calgary

Sunshine Village reopens as crews keep Verdant Creek wildfire from spreading eastward

Sunshine Village is reopening to visitors after closing over the weekend to allow crews battling the Verdant Creek wildfire to use the area as a staging base.

Fire still burning 2.5 km from mountain resort but remains on west side of Continental Divide

Sunshine Village reopened to the public on Monday after the area was closed over the weekend and used to fight the Verdant Creek fire. (Sunshine Village )

Sunshine Village is reopening to visitors after closing over the weekend to allow crews battling the Verdant Creek wildfire to use the area as a staging base.

The fire has been burning in Kootenay National Park and B.C.'s Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park for more than a week.

It came to within 2.5 kilometres of Sunshine Village — prompting officials to have pumps and sprinklers ready to protect its buildings — but the flames never crossed to the Alberta side of the Continental Divide. 

On Thursday afternoon, officials announced that all guests were being moved out in a "tactical closure" to allow fire crews to use the village as a staging area for battling the fire.

"Now that the fire has been controlled we're looking forward to welcoming guests back to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge," the resort said on its website Sunday night.

Sunshine Village spokesperson Kendra Scurfield says it's great to be able to reopen.

"It's really cleared up ... it's absolutely beautiful, you can can see Mt. Assiniboine again ... it's nice," she said.

Sunshine Road, the gondola and the village facilities will be open, but hiking trails in the area will remain closed, said Parks Canada in an online update.

Backcountry camping permits for both Banff and Kootenay parks also remain cancelled until further notice.

Parks Canada says crews are actively managing the Verdant Creek fire but that good progress has been made to keep the 4,100-hectare fire from spreading in priority areas.

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