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Wednesday July 19, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Sunshine Village in Canada has escaped the wildfire. Firefighters use it as a base to fight rest of the blaze. UPDATED

Sunshine Village has been closed and the 160 guests who were staying in the ski resort have been evacuated to hotels in nearby Banff, Canmore and the surrounding area.

The resort has been taken over by the firefighters who are battling the fire.

The fire is continuing to grow in size but threat to the ski resort has now eased.

The bulk of the fire is burning in remote areas and it's unlikely it could cross the Continental Divide to Sunshine Village and beyond as the vegetation is too sparse to fuel the fire.
The 2,500 to 3,000 hectare fire is now shifting southward into British Columbia's Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.

"A decision has been made to implement a tactical closure of the ski area to visitors.....It's not panicked, it's not in a hurry,"  said the Parks Canada incident commander, Rick Kubian

Overnight rain brought some relief to the 60 firefighters who are battling the blaze. 

6 helicopters are also being used.

Now the firecrews are based in the resort as they continue to battle the blaze.

Fighting the fireFighting the fire

Earlier this week Sunshine Village had been partially evacuated, hiking trails closed, some lifts shut down and protective sprinkler systems installed to try to protect the buildings as the fire threatened the ski resort. 

Parks Canada and Banff Fire brought up firefighting equipment including hoses, sprinklers, and water bladders for precautionary measures to be used if necessary to protect the facilities.

The resort's management team developed contingency plans, should an evacuation order be given.

The fire was caused by a lightning strike last Saturday.

"We know it's coming close . . . Parks Canada is very concerned about it spreading to our leasehold where our lifts are," said Sunshine Village spokeswoman, Kendra Scurfield, to local media on Tuesday.

"We have an amazing team with Parks Canada and they'll do everything they can to prevent it from reaching it," she added.

Photo c/o Parks CanadaPhoto c/o Parks Canada

Photo c/o Parks CanadaPhoto c/o Parks Canada

Fire closing in Fire closing in

On Tuesday I drove along Highway One on Tuesday from Calgary to Banff the town of Canmore near Banff and there was dense smoke in the air. 

Canmore was 31km from the fire as the crow flies.

Smoke billows over Highway 1Smoke billows over Highway 1

Vehicles needed to turn their headlights on such was the thickness of the smoke.

Thick smoke hinders drivingThick smoke hinders driving

The light of the sun was partially blocked out.

Dusk comes earlyDusk comes early


"As it stands right now, the fire is quite a way from the village and there isn't really a lot of fuel if the wildfire was to move up the valley to us. But floating embers could cause a problem if the wind picks up, so we are monitoring it very carefully," said Sunshine's chief operating officer,  Dave Riley, on Wednesday. 

Sprinklers are already in place in the main area of the resort.

Sprinklers at the readySprinklers at the ready

I have skied in Sunshine Village many times and it is one of PlanetSKI's favourite ski resorts in Canada.  
Sunshine Village is one of the satellite ski resorts of Banff and the town had smoke over it that varied in levels according to the wind. 

It hangs in the air and some people are concerned the fire may spread nearer to Banff, but the authorities stress that there is no immediate danger and no cause for alarm.

Forest fire threatensForest fire threatens

The fire danger across the mountain parks is classified as "high to extreme."

Photo c/o Parks CanadaPhoto c/o Parks Canada

British Columbia is under a state of emergency as 155 wildfires burn across the province.

This image of the wildfires in British Columbia were  shot by an airline passenger, Matt MeInyk, who was on a flight from Calgary to Vancouver.

Wildfires in CanadaWildfires in Canada

15 are threatening communities.

32,000 people have ben evacuated from their homes in one of the worst wildfire seasons in recent years.

"To the thousands of evacuees in BC - we're with you & doing all we can to help. A huge thank you to everyone working to keep people safe," tweeted the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
Fires across British ColumbiaFires across British Columbia

Back in Banff in neighbouring Alberta additional crews from within Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Parks Canada network are on hand to help if the fire continues to spread.

Wild fires have also affected resorts in the USA this summer as we have reported on PlanetSKI:
Banff is a major tourist town and the area is busier in the summer than in the winter.

There are fears if the blaze spreads it could affect the towns of Banff, Canmore, Harvie Heights, Lake Louise and other areas.

The main concern at the moment is smoke.

"At the moment it's across a mountain range and a couple valleys away," said Jane Park from Parks Canada.

"We do have trigger points and those kind of things identified in terms of evacuations and notices," she added.

The atmosphere in Banff is more one of disappointment than anxiety. 

The air is thick with smoke with the mountains barely visible at times.

The normal outdoor activites of hiking, biking, rafting, fishing and many others have been reduced due to the smoke and the unpleasantness of breathing it in.

Everyone is hoping the weather cools, the wind dies down and the fire crews can bring the blaze under control.  

Here at PlanetSKI we will keep you posted on developments.


Verdant Creek Fire Update, July 20th: Banff Sunshine Village Area

The Verdant Creek Wildfire is presently not threatening the Sunshine Village area, and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge remains open for guests. All hiking in the area is under a Superintendents closure.  Safety of our guests and team members remains our top priority.

 Efforts to control the Verdant Creek Fire remain ongoing. The wild fire is burning 2.5 km away from our lease hold in Assiniboine Provincial Park. Parks Canada and BC Parks are working round the clock to prevent the fire from entering our lease hold.

About the Fire:

With the dry, mountainous, and windy conditions the Verdant Creek fire has grown. Parks officials estimate the fire to be between 2500 to 3000 hectares in size.

The fire has spread along the continental divide in Mount Assiniboine provincial park, across from the headwater of the Brewster Creek Drainage. The fire is presently being fought with five helicopters, and 60 men.

About Our Safety Contingencies:

 Parks Canada and Banff Fire have brought up firefighting equipment including hoses, sprinklers, and water bladders (for precautionary measures) to be used if necessary to protect our facilities.

 Our management team has developed contingency plans, should an evacuation order be given. We will continue to share updates on the fire on our social media.

 Verdant Creek Fire Update, July 18th, 2017 - Banff Sunshine Village:

The fire fighters are actively working to control the Verdant Creek Fire in Kootenay National Park. The wildfire is close to Banff Sunshine Village, on Monday it reached within 2.5 km of Sunshine Village on the BC side. At Present, the fire is being actively fought on a number of fronts.

Close to Banff Sunshine Village, Parks Canada is tackling the blaze behind Grizzly Lake and Laryx Lake.

Thankfully, the area between the fire and Sunshine is high alpine terrain, with little fuel for the fire to consume. Fortunately at Sunshine, due to our cut runs with little brush, we have plenty of defensible space to battle the flame.

Park Canada is fighting hard to prevent the fire from spreading into Sunshine Meadows, where our beautiful hiking trails are, and from it spreading into the Sunshine Village area.

As a precautionary measure, Parks Canada has brought in hoses, sprinklers and other fire fighting equipment to be used as necessary to protect Sunshine Village. At present, the weather is cooperating. The wind has died down, the weather has cooled, and it appears that Sunshine Village may get rain on Thursday.

At Sunshine, The Sunshine Mountain Lodge remains open for guests. However, the superintendent has put a closure on all day use of the Sunshine area.

Web Camera images from Wednesday 19th July:

Sunshine Village: the resortSunshine Village: the resort

Sunshine Village: the surrounding mountainsSunshine Village: the surrounding mountains


See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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