Waterton Lakes National Park after the Kenow Fire
Parks Canada and its partners have been actively managing the Kenow Fire in Waterton Lakes National Park. We are now assessing and addressing hazards in the park to ensure public safety.
Most of the park (including trails and water access) remains closed to the public at this time. The Entrance Road and townsite are open; however, there are limited park services available.
Safety is Parks Canada's top priority. Visitors who choose to come to the Waterton townsite must obey area closures and remain vigilant of potential hazards on the Entrance Road and in the townsite. Important safety information is outlined here.
Visitor safety during the Kenow Fire
Animals that are injured, hungry or displaced may have unpredictable behaviour, including entering the townsite in search of food. For your safety and the safety of the animals, never approach, feed or entice wildlife. Dispose of garbage only in the bear-proof bins located throughout the townsite in order to avoid attracting wildlife. Report all wildlife sightings within the townsite by calling 1-888-WARDENS (1-888-927-3367).
Only the Entrance Road and Highways 5 and 6 are open in the park. All other roads are closed to the public until hazards are addressed.
Some road signs and guardrails were destroyed by fire, and debris periodically rolls onto the road. In addition, wildlife and fire crews may be on or near the road. Use caution and proceed slowly when driving through the park.
Trees, rocks and debris
Many trees are unstable due to burned roots or saturated soil from fire-fighting activities, while others may be dangerous due to broken tops. There may be ash pits around tree bases and hotspots that still need to be extinguished.
Vegetation that kept slopes stable has burned, resulting in rocks and logs rolling down slopes onto sidewalks and roads.
With the loss of some infrastructure, there may be pieces of steel, nails, glass or other similar hazards in the area. Many power poles have been damaged or destroyed. Watch for downed and low-hanging lines.
Smoke and ash may create air quality and visibility issues. Visitors with the following medical conditions or situations should not visit the park until the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is regularly 3 or less:
- Individuals with respiratory conditions (such as COPD and asthma)
- Individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions (such as angina, previous heart attack)
- Pregnant women
- Children under the age of seven
- Seniors over the age of 65
For smoke and air quality alerts visit: www.airhealth.ca
Water in the townsite is safe for consumption.
You are advised to bring basic necessities, such as water and food. Businesses may open as soon as business owners have ensured that their locations are safe and are staffed to provide services to the public. Due to the seasonal nature of the Waterton townsite, some businesses may choose to remain closed for the remainder of the season. Please call ahead to ensure the business you wish to visit is open.
For information on businesses in Waterton Lakes National Parks Canada, visit the Waterton Lakes Chamber of Commerce website.
Parks Canada visitor activities
With the exception of the townsite, all front-country and back-country areas (including trails and water access) are closed and being assessed for safety hazards due to the on-going Kenow Fire. All Parks Canada events and activities in the national park are on hold until further notice.
Sources of information
Parks Canada updates and information are available at:
- Website: www.pc.gc.ca/waterton-kenow-fire
- Information Line: 403-859-5109
- Twitter: @WatertonLakesNP
- Facebook: facebook.com/WatertonLakesNP
For information about smoke and air quality, visit www.airhealth.ca
For information about road conditions inside and outside of Waterton Lakes National Park, visit:
- Alberta 511 web site or call (toll-free): 1-855-391-9743 (outside Alberta); 5-1-1 (within Alberta).
- Waterton Lakes National Park Road report
We appreciate the public’s support and understanding as Parks Canada works to make Waterton Lakes National Park safe for future visits.
In case of EMERGENCY call 911
- State that you are calling from Waterton Lakes National Park
- Cell phones are not always reliable in the backcountry
To report wildlife, call: 1-888-WARDENS (927-3367).