The Maligne Valley (Excelsior Creek) wildfire is still out of control.
As of July 14 the 1,000 hectare wildfire was not contained, but not growing, said Parks Canada fire boss, Dave Smith.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Smith said. “Our first priority is getting water all around it and extinguishing the north side.”
Since July 9, when dry, hot forest conditions helped a fire which had been smouldering for more than a week come to life, fire fighters have been working to extinguish the blaze. That day, Parks Canada officials evacuated approximately 1,000 day users and 60 backcountry campers and hikers from the Maligne Valley while the fire ran almost 10 kilometres in four hours.
The fire was caused by lightning strike. It burned south, on the west side of Medicine Lake, and is now burning on the lake’s north end.
The fire is not currently threatening any facilities. Maligne Lake Road remained closed at the 5th Bridge turnoff on July 14.
Six helicopters and more than 50 fire fighters from local and external units have been working on establishing a perimeter around the fire.
“We’re not taking this lightly,” Smith said.
Crews with heavy equipment are building trails into the rugged terrain on the west side of Medicine Lake to establish a perimeter. They will also build a series of helipads to facilitate air access.
“We will open [the Maligne Valley] as fast as we can,” Smith said.