Fire protection and restoration projects
As part of the wildfire fuel reduction activities that were completed in Jasper National Park this past year, a number of debris piles are now being burned at different locations throughout the park. There is no need to call 911 or other emergency services to report smoke. People with respiratory ailments are encouraged to contact their local health professional for advice specific to their condition if they have questions. For other health-related inquiries call HealthLink Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK. Safety is our top priority. The safety of people, facilities and surrounding lands is our first concern in all fire management actions.
As part of the wildfire fuel reduction activities that were completed in Jasper National Park this past year, a number of debris piles are now being burned at different locations throughout the park.
There is no need to call 911 or other emergency services to report smoke.
People with respiratory ailments are encouraged to contact their local health professional for advice specific to their condition if they have questions. For other health-related inquiries call HealthLink Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK.
Safety is our top priority. The safety of people, facilities and surrounding lands is our first concern in all fire management actions.
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper continue FireSmart partnership this winter
Over the last three years, Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper have collaborated to increase community wildfire protection. Together, we have focused on minimizing the potential impacts of a wildfire by removing forest fuels (vegetation that could fuel a fire) in and around the edge of town. Many of these areas were previously treated through the FireSmart program between 2003 and 2011.
The purpose of the current maintenance project is to reduce the buildup of forest fuels in previously treated FireSmart areas caused by the natural process of forest regrowth as well as forest affected by mountain pine beetle. This winter, crews will be working around critical infrastructure, along evacuation routes, and in some previously treated FireSmart areas. (See map)
Parks Canada has contributed over $1 million – in funding and staffing – to support forest fuel reduction work as part of Jasper's community FireSmart program. The Municipality of Jasper supports this program through their provincial Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) grant.
Pile burning begins November 8
Beginning November 8, 2019, crews will first burn any piles remaining from last year's FireSmart work.
This year's treatment areas include:
- the first 2-km of Pyramid Lake Road
- the narrow areas along both sides of the road between Moberly Bridge and the Jasper Park Lodge entrance
- along Lake Annette Road
- along Highway 93A South, from Tekarra Lodge to Alpine Village Resort
- along Highway 16, just west of Cottonwood Road
Several projects that require pile burning are happening in the park this winter. Burning will only be permitted on days when conditions are safe and all reasonable efforts will be made to minimize smoke production. There is no need to call 911 or other emergency services to report smoke.
Motorists could encounter speed reductions and single-lane alternating traffic zones on roads within the work areas. Work will stop for the holidays, but resume in January.
To ensure the safety of the public in areas where crews and equipment are operating, there may be temporary trail closures. Please keep an eye out for crews at work and adhere to all posted warnings and closures along trails and on the Parks Canada trail condition report.
As soon as conditions allow, Parks Canada fire crews will begin burning debris piles near the East Gate in Jasper National Park, approximately 30 km west of Hinton.
Slash and debris piles from previous thinning work will be burned on-site to help create a natural fireguard for the Fiddle West Prescribed Fire, which will be scheduled at a later date.
Over the next few weeks, smoke may be visible in Hinton and Brule areas and along Highway 16. There is no need to call 911 or other emergency services to report smoke. Highway 16 will remain open, but speed reductions may be in place.
Parks Canada and Canfor, a forestry company, are working to reduce the amount of dead and dying trees in mountain pine beetle affected forest west of the Municipality of Jasper, in an area known as Pyramid Bench.
Mechanical thinning to remove mature pine and some mature spruce trees is underway.
The project area connects to FireSmart treated areas around town, which will create a much larger protected area to the west and will reduce the risk of windblown embers onto the townsite in the event of a wildfire.
An area closure is in place to ensure the safety of the public in areas where crews and equipment are operating, falling trees, and hauling logs. Please follow all warnings and closures so that operators can work safely.
Access is prohibited within the operating area of the fire hazard reduction project on Pyramid Bench:
- Trail 8c between the junction of trail 8c and trail 8e (Cabin Lake Fire Road) and the junction of trail 8c and trail 8
Refer to the closure map for a graphic description.
Jasper is a FireSmart community
This means that we understand the risk of wildfire in a forested community, and take actions to both prepare to respond in the event of an emergency and to reduce the potential impacts of a wildfire.
Parks Canada takes the threat of wildfire seriously. Public safety is at the core of everything that we do, and fire protection is part of our daily operations in Jasper National Park.
Parks Canada works with partners for support.
We work with the Municipality of Jasper, Alberta Forestry, BC Wildfire Service, Parks Canada National Fire Program, and other provincial and territorial fire and emergency response agencies to share information, expertise, personnel, and equipment. We train together to prepare for emergencies and share lessons learned from recent wildfires across Canada.
We monitor conditions daily.
There are six weather stations in the park that record hourly temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and wind direction. We use this information, along with national weather reports, to determine the fire danger rating. This tells us how easily a fire could start, how difficult it might be to control, and how long it might burn.
Our team of first responders act fast.
We have our own dedicated initial attack team of fire first responders, along with a fire management officer, fire technician, and fire and vegetation specialist. When the fire danger rating is very high to extreme, the fire crew and a helicopter are on standby. They conduct regular patrols to check for smoke, lightning strikes, and illegal campfires.
We get a lot of help from our friends.
If needed, Parks Canada has access to fire crews and specialists across the country, including five national incident management teams, who can arrive to help manage large, complex wildfire emergencies within 24-48 hours. As a partner in the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, we can also request immediate help from forest fire agencies in every province and territory in Canada and internationally.
We stop random campfires before they start.
The majority of wildfires are started by people. We have a permanent fire restriction that only allows fires in provided fire pits or boxes. This keeps campfires in places where staff can make sure that fires are burning safely and can respond quickly to any reports of unattended or uncontrolled fire. A fire ban is another fire prevention tool we can use to reduce the number of human-caused fires. Illegal fires or camping are investigated and may lead to charges and fines.
We remove trees and vegetation around the edge of town to reduce fuels for fire to burn.
Firesmart fuel maintenance 2003-2018
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper are active partners in the “FireSmart” community protection program. As part of this program, we work together to thin the forest near the community, which keeps a wildfire on the ground rather than in the tree tops. When fire is on the ground, it limits fire intensity, reduces windblown embers, and makes it easier for responders to control.
More than 10 km2 of forest have been thinned through the FireSmart program.
Firesmart fuel maintenance 2003-2018
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper have been working to thin the forest around town since 2003. This past winter, we went back into many of these previously thinned areas to remove regrowth and dead pine trees. We also removed nearly 3,000 hazardous trees from our campgrounds.
Parks Canada maintains a Community Fireguard.
This cleared fuel break on Pyramid Bench along the Cabin Lake fire road acts as a barrier to slow the spread of a wildfire and as a line of defense from which responders can carry out actions to control a fire.
We are removing dead and dying pine beetle affected trees around the town.
To add to the many hectares of forest already thinned around the town, we have contracted Canfor to remove dead and dying pine trees west of the community on Pyramid Bench. This extensive project will nearly double the amount of forested area that has already been thinned around the community. Preparations have begun and road building and additional site preparations will start up in the fall.
We adapt to the effects of mountain pine beetle.
Mountain pine beetles kill the trees that host them. Dead trees dry out faster than live trees. We are now using a different forest type to predict fire behaviour that better reflects the number of dead trees in our pine forest. This means that we will see more days of high to extreme fire danger, and fire bans may be in place more often and earlier than in previous years.
We are planning for the future.
We are constantly assessing our approach to managing wildfire. We review and adjust plans as the environment and climate around us changes. There are always opportunities to learn and to continually improve community protection. We continue to work closely with our partners to reduce the risk of wildfire to the town and to prepare to work together in the event of an emergency.
You can help protect yourself and your community
- Report any sign of widlfire to Parks Canada Dispatch 780-852-6155 or call 911.
- FireSmart begins at home. Contact the Municipality of Jasper's Protective Services for more information at 780-852-1591.
- Make a plan. Prepare a 72 hour emergency kit. Get the Municipal Evacuation Guide.
- Download the Alberta Emergency Alert app on your phone.
Stay informed. Use official information sources
- Jasper National Park website: www.pc.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
- Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/JasperNP / @JasperNP
- Municipality of Jasper website: www.jasper-alberta.com
- Alberta Emergency Alert: www.emergencyalert.alberta.ca
- Fire Ban Information: www.albertafirebans.ca
- Tune in to local radio stations: 92.3 FM or 95.5 FM or 104.9 FM