Small fire in Kootenay National Park means some closures over long weekend

A small fire in Numa Creek, and a prescribed burn near its edge, have resulted in some trail closures.

A prescribed burn, which was lit on Wednesday July 31, has been a success, but is keeping parts of Kootenay National Park off limits to visitors.

The plan was to burn a small area of forest between the edge of Numa Creek wildfire and a large avalanche path to the east. Over the following days, fire crews worked to contain the wildfire in the upper Numa Creek valley.

The fire may create some localized smoke over the next few days, depending on the weather. Note that other fires burning in southeast B.C. may also contribute to smoke levels in the region.

As of now, the Rockwall trail, the Numa Creek trail, and the Tumbling Creek trail are either closed or are inaccessible.

There is potential for a long-term closure of the Numa Creek trail drainage depending on weather and fire behaviour.

This year also happens to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Kootenay National Park wildfires that burned more than 12,5 per cent (more than 17,000 hectares) of the park.

Many of you may remember that summer, as fire crews from across the country went to work on the Tokumm-Verendrye wildfires.

What started as a small fire suppression operation quickly escalated into a 40-day battle, with Parks Canada and other fire crews from as far away as Newfoundland assembling to help fight the blaze.

“Those are 40 days that I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Rick Kubian, Parks Canada’s Manager of Resource Conservation for Kootenay National Park and the Incident Commander on 2003 wildfire suppression operations. “There was legitimate concern the fire could jump from the Vermilion Valley to the Bow Valley and potentially make a run towards to the Town of Banff… in the end our crews were able to contain the fire and, on the plus side, we’ve been reaping the ecological benefits ever since, and it’s a pretty awesome place to visit and experience firsthand.”