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Waterton Lakes National Park

Fire, Flood and Avalanche - Fire Photo Album

Aerial view of burning forest Sofa Mountain Fire
© Parks Canada, 1998

A picture says a thousand words. Waterton is taking this expression to heart in its comprehensive photo inventory of the Sofa Mountain Fire. The photo album provides a visual record of how fire changes the landscape. By observing these changes over time, we can increase our understanding of fire as an ecological process. You may be surprised to see how quickly new growth regenerates after a fire!

At Waterton, fostering educational partnerships in initiatives such as this photo inventory is an important part of its education strategy. From 1999 to 2001, Waterton partnered with local schools in this park-based science program. Students from Agnes Davidson Elementary School in Lethbridge were actively involved in taking photos of the fire site from each of six designated photo points. Each year's images were added to project binders located at the park and in several other schools, allowing students to observe changes in the landscape over time.

The photo points were set up on the eastern edge of the park along the Chief Mountain Highway. Starting during the fire in September 1998, photos were taken for five consecutive years until 2002. Waterton will continue to record changes in the landscape by taking photos at ten-year intervals beginning on the tenth anniversary of the fire in 2008. See an example of a complete series of photos from one photo point (#3).

Click on the links below to see how a fire affects the landscape.

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