Jasper National Park Fire Management
Through safe and effective fuel management, we are reducing the danger of wildfire to the public, infrastructure, and neighbouring lands while improving the ecological integrity of our forests through fire restoration. Both prescribed fire and fuel reduction are used to achieve these goals.
Since 2003, more than 1,000 hectares of forest surrounding the Municipality of Jasper have undergone intensive forest fuel reduction through the FireSmart program to improve community wildfire protection.
This winter, Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper are working cooperatively on FireSmart maintenance. In addition to the base funding the Municipality received for this project through the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta FireSmart grant, Parks Canada is providing $200 000 to the project as well as staff expertise and monitoring.
Work to remove regrowth vegetation and mountain pine beetle affected trees in FireSmart treated areas within and near the edge of town is underway.
Visit the Municipality of Jasper website for more information.
What is FireSmart?
FireSmart is a set of principles and guidelines designed to help reduce the risk of and mitigate potential damage caused by wildfires through education, policy and planning, vegetation management and emergency planning.
FireSmart programs protect people, infrastructure & surrounding lands from wildfire within and adjacent to national parks. Learn more at: FireSmart Canada
What is a Fireguard?
Jasper’s Community Fireguard is an area that has been cleared of vegetation. This fuel break provides a barrier intended to stop or slow the spread of a wildfire and a line of defense from which crews can carry out actions to control a fire. Parks Canada’s fire crew has maintained this barrier through manual forest thinning and prescribed burns on a regular basis since 2004.
Fire hazard reduction on Pyramid Bench
Parks Canada has started a mechanical thinning project to reduce fire hazard in the forested lands lying upwind of the Municipality of Jasper. Crews and equipment will selectively remove the hazardous accumulation of dead lodgepole pine trees and mountain pine beetle affected trees west of the townsite, while protecting Douglas fir, deciduous trees such as aspen, and riparian (wetland) areas.
Work will continue until April 15, 2018, or as long as the ground remains frozen. The remainder of the project area will be completed between November 2018 and April 2019. Work is planned for winter to minimize the impact to park visitors and residents as well as mitigate impacts to ecological integrity.
Trail closures and traffic disruptions
To ensure the safety of the public, there may be temporary trail closures and traffic disruptions while work is underway. Signage will be in place and information available through the Information Centre. Please refer to the Trail Condition Report web page for active closures.
The project area is located on the bench lands west of the Jasper townsite known as Pyramid Bench. We will update the website with more details about specific work areas and trail closures as work progresses.
Mechanical thinning to reduce fire hazard and mountain pine beetle habitat
The area we are thinning on Pyramid Bench connects to FireSmart treated areas around the townsite, which will create a much larger protected area to the west of the community. FireSmart and forest thinning near communities limits fire intensity, reduces the potential for spot fires from windblown embers, and improves the effectiveness of fire suppression techniques.
We use mechanical thinning to improve community wildfire protection and remove mountain pine beetle habitat when conditions for prescribed burning do not appear. While preparation for Parks Canada’s planned prescribed burns in the Pyramid Bench lakes area have been ongoing since 2008, the conditions required to safely restore fire to the Pyramid Bench landscape have not appeared. Mechanical thinning helps us to create conditions for less complex, safer, and more efficient prescribed fires in the future.
Pyramid Bench map
The safety of the public, our crews, park infrastructure, and neighbouring lands is always our number one priority. Fire specialists will only ignite under pre-determined conditions to ensure a well-managed, successful prescribed fire.
Fiddle River Complex
The Fiddle River Complex, located near the East Gate to Jasper National Park, is a strategic fire break to help prevent wildfire as well as manage the movement of mountain pine beetle beyond the park boundaries.
In the spring of 2017, Parks Canada fire crews carried out a prescribed burn in one of four Fiddle River Complex units. Another unit, known as the Fiddle Guard, was partially harvested along parallel fireguard lines to reduce the complexity of future prescribed burn operations. Conditions permitting, Parks Canada will burn in this unit during the 2017-2018 winter season.
Henry House II
Henry House was originally burned in 1988 and re-burned in 2008 to restore open montane grassland. Conditions permitting, a re-burn of the area is planned for spring 2018.
Decades of fire suppression have created older, dense forests susceptible to wildfire and mountain pine beetle attacks. This has increased the risk of more intense and harder to control wildfires. A key element of fire protection and restoration is fuel modification – reducing or changing the materials available to burn in a wildfire. Fuel modification work includes prescribed fire, manual forest thinning, and mechanical tree removal.
How will this affect you?
There may be temporary trail closures along the Discovery Trail and trail connectors while FireSmart work is underway. Please check the Trail Condition Report and the Important Bulletins webpage for active closures.
Crews and equipment will be operating seven days a week. There may be short term traffic disruptions, noise, and smoke in the area.
For smoke and air quality alerts visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
How to safely enjoy a campfire in Jasper National Park
- Keep campfires small, and only in designated fire pits or boxes. Fires must be attended to at all times.
- Completely extinguish campfires with water. Soak it, stir it, and soak it again until it is cool to the touch before leaving it.
- Campers are required to purchase a fire permit before using fire pits in road-accessible campgrounds. Campfires are not permitted during quiet hours (11 pm to 7 am).
- Campfires are not allowed in some backcountry campgrounds. Check the backcountry camping information or ask at the park visitor centre before setting out on your hike.
- Remember to dispose of cigarettes in appropriate receptacles.
Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155.
How to prepare for a wildfire
Here are some important resources to get you and your family ready in case of a community emergency:
- Guidelines on emergency readiness in the event of an emergency (Public Safety Canada website)
- Jasper Emergency Guide (Municipality of Jasper website)
- 72-Hour Emergency Guide (Municipality of Jasper website)
- Evacuations (Municipality of Jasper website)
Check the Public Weather Alerts for Jasper National Park.