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Wildfire threatens Waterton Lakes National Park, forcing closure of backcountry

A nearby wildfire and an extreme fire hazard have forced Parks Canada to shut down all backcountry use in Waterton Lakes National Park until further notice.

Townsite still open but but campgrounds and most trails are closed due to extreme fire hazard

Parks Canada has closed most backcountry activities in Waterton Lakes National Park. (Google Maps)

A nearby wildfire and an extreme fire hazard have forced Parks Canada to shut down most backcountry use in Waterton Lakes National Park until further notice. 

"It has spread since we noticed it on August 30, to the boundary of the park," said John Stoesser, the fire information officer for Waterton Lakes. 

"There are some spot fires coming over into Waterton Lakes National Park, so we have some helicopters directly bucketing water onto those spot fires."

The fire is burning mostly in B.C., according to Stoesser. 

The townsite remains open, but all off-trail hiking, scrambling and climbing in the park is prohibited. Crandell campground and all backcountry campgrounds are closed, as is the Red Rock Parkway.

Visitors can still access the Cameron Lake day-use area, but any use of the lake is prohibited. 

Anyone caught in the closed areas could face a fine up to $25,000.

"It's hot and dry outside. It's been a very hot and dry summer so there's been some significant movement of this fire over the past couple of days," said Stoesser. 

Several trails near the townsite and on the east side of the chain of lakes are still open.

This photo taken on Sunday by Mountain View, Alta., resident Michael Cunningham shows smoke from a B.C. wildfire coming over the Rockies. Mountain View is about 15 kilometres east of Waterton Lakes National Park. (Michael Cunningham)

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