In its continuous effort to prevent or limit fires from spreading within the Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada), Parks Canada has initiated a fire-fighting initiative along Highway 1A near the Protection Mountain Campground.
According to a report from the Calgary Herald, the Protection Mountain Fire Guard project is scheduled to be completed in March 2023. The project will see a 32.8-hectare area cleared up to landscape level.
The contract work started on December 8 and will begin by mobilizing equipment and constructing temporary access roads to facilitate traffic while crews clear trees, burn debris, and move material on and off-site.
Dwight Bourdin, resource conservation manager of Lake Louise, Yoho, Kootenay field unit with Parks Canada, said the area was chosen for the proactive fireguard for various reasons.
“It’s really just to give us a line in the sand, a tactical place where if we have a wildfire in the valley, we could actually start controlling that fire strategically because of what the landscape dictates a little bit … Just adjacent to Protection Mountain Campground has a little protection from up there and ecologically, it’ll open up that forest,” he said.
“It also provides good habitat for species like grizzly bears, elk, deer, and opening, and that was one of the key objectives.”
Bourdin said the clearing timeline would begin depending on the weather, adding security officers will be present to make sure all environmental protections are in place.
After clearing begins, the workers will be there all day, seven days a week, till the work is completed. Parks Canada said in a statement that they expect occasional road closures along the section of the highway.
The fire guard’s work will block access for public use to the area. The 500-meter section of the Baker Creek to Protection Mountain Campground cross-country ski trail will be closed.
Parks Canada urged visitors to be prepared for potential delays and reduced visibility on Highway 1A while burning occurs.
Bourdin said another fire guard for the community of Lake Louise is in the planning stages.