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Wednesday August 2, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Sunshine has been evacuated (again) & other resorts are suffering from the smoke. PlanetSKI reports from Canada. UPDATED

The evacuation order for Sunshine Village Resort in Alberta was made and 120 guests and staff left the resort for accommodation in Banff.

The order is still in place.

Here in Banff the smoke has now cleared and the blaze is not directly threatening the town or surrounding area.

Sunshine Village has again become the firefighting base for crews and is now the official Command Centre for one of the wildfires.

There are currently around 140 across British Columbia alone.

Earlier this week a major road, Highway 93,  in and out Banff from British Columbia was closed as the wildfires continue to spread.

It remains shut.

We will have a full report on the fires shortly including a new one I saw being fought on Friday in between the ski resort of Revelstoke and Kicking Horse in British Columbia as I passed by on the way to Banff.

Helicopters water bombing the fire between Revelstoke and Kicking HorseHelicopters water bombing the fire between Revelstoke and Kicking Horse

Helicopters water bombing the fire between Revelstoke and Kicking HorseHelicopters water bombing the fire between Revelstoke and Kicking Horse

Revelstoke remains shrouded in smoke as wind blows in its direction but Kicking Horse is smoke-free.

The ski resorts of Red Mountain and Whitewater further south in British Columbia are also affected by smoke that hangs over large parts of British Columbia.

Residents and visitors to Sunshine Village near Banff were also moved out for three days in July to make room for firefighting crews as we reported at the time:

The new evacuation order came as hot, dry and windy weather made the Verdant Creek fire more active and it spread to cover more than 50 square kilometres.

Parks Canada reported difficulties in fighting the blaze.

The Calgary Herald quoted Parks Canada as saying it was difficult to track the progress of the fire because of the dense smoke.

Its behaviour and the steep terrain was also proving problematic.

"We expect more smoke because of the hot and dry conditions and that there'll be growth of the fire," Christie Thomson of Parks Canada told the newspaper.

It's not safe for visitors to be in the area, which is being used to supply firefighting helicopters with water, she added.

"Just for the smoke, hikers are being turned around."

Verdant Creek wildfireFighting the fire - photo Parks Canada
















The number of firefighters has increased from 60 in mid-July to 80.

As Sunshine Village was declared the Firefighting Command Centre, staff were allowed to return.

At this stage it's not clear how long the current evacuation of visitors to Sunshine Village will have to remain in force.

The resort says it will be closed at least until after the August long weekend (this weekend) to allow the fire crews to operate without worrying about the public.

"It is our hope that we will reopen for commercial use early next week," it says.

Here at PlanetSKI we'll keep you posted from Canada.

Verdant Creek fireVerdant Creek fire from Sunshine Village













The Parks Canada incident commander, Jane Parks, says the fire has grown in size, which has led to the closure of a main highway - Highway 93 South -  but it has not moved any closer to Sunshine Village.

"It is not unusual for a wildfire to continue burning under these circumstances," she says.

CBS News reports that the fire is still on the West side of the Continental Divide, with the flames within about 2km of Sunshine Village on the Alberta side.


The resort posted this update on its website on Wednesday evening:

Thanks to a change in winds, on August 1st, Parks Canada was able to deploy both ground and air crews to execute fire suppression work in the North Simpson area of the Verdant Creek fire. Parks Canada's ability to have boots on the ground is significant! Boots on the ground is critical for containment efforts. Parks Canada will continue to directly suppress the northern side of the fire as weather permits.

On Thursday night, August 3rd, approximately 80 fire fighters will be checking into the Sunshine Mountain Lodge as Banff Sunshine Village transforms into a Fire Command Centre for the Verdant Creek Fire. Over the next few days our resort will be used as a staging area for fire fighters, helicopters and the command team, thus allowing Parks Canada to manage the fire from our resort.

Verdant Creek fire crewsBoots on the ground - photo Parks Canada

The authorities says the fire is not causing danger to any communities.

It is active on the west side of the Continental Divide in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. It has not crossed the divide into Alberta or the Sunshine Village area.

Wildfires have also affected resorts in the USA this summer as we have reported on PlanetSKI:

MAIN PHOTO: Emily Sinclair, Sunshine Village

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

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