***Update Afternoon July 20th:
“Verdant Creek Fire Update, July 20th: Sunshine Village Area
The Verdant Creek Fire continues to burn on the west side of the continental divide, approximately 2.5 km from the Sunshine Village lease hold on the BC side. With the dry weather, the fire has spread further into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.
At present, the fire is not a threat to Sunshine Village as it has not crept closer to our resort. To assist Park’s Canada we have been asked to close the Sunshine Mountain Lodge to guests on a temporary basis.
Starting Friday, July 21st, the Sunshine Mountain Lodge will be closed for approximately 2-5 days. During this time, Parks Canada crews will take further actions to mitigate and manage the Verdant Creek Fire. During the tactical closure, Banff Sunshine Village will be used as a staging area for fire crews to safeguard the North Simpson Valley and the Redearth Pass.
Over the next few days, Parks will be sending more helicopters and ground crews into the Sunshine Village area. The work Parks will be performing is expected to create additional smoke and noise.
The safety of our guests and team is our top priority. We wish Parks Canada success in their fire management efforts” – Banff Sunshine Website
***Original article 12pm PST July 20th:
Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park, B.C. Canada is within 2km(1.5 Miles) of Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort
According to Parks Canada the fire is currently estimated at 2,500 and 3,000 hectares(6K-7.4K Acres) in size. It was believed to be started by a lightening strike at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) on July 15th. It is now very close to the border of Alberta Canada and Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort.
According to BBC News Canada over 45,000 people have been displaced/evacuated so far in British Columbia this summer. This is quickly approaching B.C.’s record of 50,000 displaced/evacuated in 2003.
The Fire has increased to 10X the size it was on Sunday
- There are 60 people and five helicopters deployed to manage this fire (as of 7/19)
- The fire has been growing due to winds and dry conditions
- Authorities for Canada’s National parks have expanded bans and restrictions on camp fires as well
- Hiking is restricted in Kootenay and Banff national parks
- Hiking and backcountry use of the resort is restricted
- The Resort and Village are open for business for now
“At this time, we’re just standing by. We are in full operation with the hotel and restaurants, but the hiking trails are not open,” said Chief operating officer Dave Riley in an interview with CBC news Calgary on Wednesday.
The safety of the resort is being managed:
Parks Canada has been working with Banff Sunshine Village Ski Resort to set up water pumps, sprinklers, and defensible space measures to mitigate fire danger near and at the resort. Equipment has been set in place to defend major structures if that becomes a necessary concern.
“The fire is on the other side of the divide . . . the fuel around Sunshine Village itself isn’t totally forested but rather alpine (meadow) vegetation… “We’ve erected structure protection equipment . . . to wet down any major facility if the fire moves closer,” said Jane Park, a fire-vegetation specialist and Spokesperson for Parks Canada.
Sunshine Village reports that they have 150 and 100 active staff and the Village, Resort, and Restaurants are open.
“We have contingency plans prepared should we need to evacuate the resort,” said spokesperson Kendra Scurfield for Sunshine Village in an email for a CBC Canada as well as, “At present there is no need or call from Parks Canada to do so. The safety of our guests and staff is our top priority.”
Fires have been raging across British Columbia since early this summer.
BBC news has set up an article to keep residents updated with current fire conditions and an interactive map showing current fire boundaries. They report that over 45,000 people have been displaced/ evacuated so far.
From Early July:
142 Fires Start in B.C. on Friday, 7000 People Evacuated | State of Emergency Declared by B.C. Gov’t