Wild­fire closes big stretch of high­way through Koote­nay Na­tional Park

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

BANFF, Alta. — The high­way that winds through Bri­tish Columbia’s Koote­nay Na­tional Park has been closed in­def­i­nitely as wild­fire smoke makes for dan­ger­ous driv­ing con­di­tions.

Parks Canada said Wed­nes­day that High­way 93 has been closed from Cas­tle Junc­tion near the Tran­sCanada High­way to the town of Ra­dium Hot Springs some 100 kilo­me­tres south. In­ci­dent com­man­der Jane Park said the smoke is ex­tremely dense in some ar­eas. ``The vis­i­bil­ity is def­i­nitely un­der 100 me­tres, some places prob­a­bly un­der 50 me­tres,’’ she said.

The Ver­dant Creek wild­fire burn­ing just west of the Al­berta-B.C. bound­ary has shut­tered Bri­tish Columbia’s Mount Assini­boine Pro­vin­cial Park and closed parts of Banff and Koote­nay na­tional parks.

Park said the fire now cov­ers an es­ti­mated 110 square kilo­me­tres _ dou­ble pre­vi­ous es­ti­mates.

``That’s sig­nif­i­cantly larger than the last es­ti­mate mostly due to the fact that we were un­able to get to the south­ern end of the fire to do ac­cu­rate map­ping due to smoke,’’ she said.

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