Fire protection and restoration projects
Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper continue FireSmart partnership
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.
FireSmart work for 2019-2020 is complete for this year.
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
Prescribed fire operations will only be conducted when predetermined weather and site conditions are met.
Prescribed fires help to restore healthy forests and grasslands, enhance habitat for wildlife and reduce the risk of wildfire to our communities.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
- Report any sign of wildfire 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.