Weather aids in ending evacuation alert for Waterton Lakes National Park

Townsite was still busy despite park's evacuation notice

Visitors are back in Waterton National Park after an evacuation order was lifted. THE CANADIAN PRESS

WATERTON, Alta. — Significant rainfall on Monday was enough to lift an evacuation alert sparked by a wildfire near Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta.

Parks Canada spokesman John Stoesser says the area received 32 millimetres of rain, which is sufficient to rescind the alert that was issued last week.

“It absolutely is very nice to hear the sound of raindrops coming down. It helps immensely,” said Stoesser.

“Enough has fallen for Parks Canada to be able to lift the evacuation alert which was issued for Waterton Lakes National Park.”

The 860-hectare blaze remains entirely on the U.S. side of the border in Glacier National Park, about seven kilometres away. Stoesser said the area isn’t out of the woods yet.

“The fire does remain active. This hasn’t extinguished the fire,” Stoesser said.

“We will continue to work closely with Glacier National Park and the other partnering agencies to manage this wildfire, to protect the key infrastructure and resources in the area but we are happy to say some areas have opened back up.”

Stoesser says despite the evacuation alert, the park’s townsite was still quite busy.

Waterton was devastated by a wildfire last September which consumed more than 190 square kilometres within the park and led to a two-week mandatory evacuation.

Stoesser said that is still fresh in the minds of both park residents and staff.

“The community had a really great event last weekend commemorating the Kenow wildfire from last year,” he said.

“It was interesting to have that happening at the same time as this incident.”

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