Fire protection and restoration projects

Jasper National Park

Parks Canada is committed to restoring fire to the landscape, benefiting communities and ecosystems. Wildfires are a natural part of forest ecosystems. They contribute to improve forest health and reduce the long-term risk of wildfire to communities. Historical fire suppression has caused a significant decline in ecosystem health and diversity of species within the mountain national parks.

Public safety is at the core of everything that we do. We take the threat of wildfire seriously and fire protection is part of our daily operations. We take actions to reduce the potential impacts of a wildfire while improving forest health. Below you will find information on fire protection and restoration projects within Jasper National Park.

Prescribed fires

Prescribed fire operations will only be conducted when predetermined weather and site conditions are met.

Prescribed fires help to restore healthy forests and grasslands, enhance habitat for wildlife and reduce the risk of wildfire to our communities.

2024 prescribed fires


Date: Spring/Summer/Fall
Size: 925 ha
Location: The Southesk Valley, in the southeast corner of Jasper National Park, upstream of a wildfire in the valley in 2006.
Additional details:
The ecological objective of this prescribed fire is to promote natural regeneration of lodgepole pine forest. Lodgepole pine is a fire-dependent species and the southesk valley contains healthy cone-bearing lodgepole pine for re-seeding post-fire, unlike much of the pine forest that has sustained heavy mortality from mountain pine beetle in Jasper National Park. This southeast corner of the park is a remote area that does not have significant values at risk, which extends the season for prescribed burning to be more representative of the historic fire regime.

Talbot Lake

Date: Spring/ Fall
Size: 3600 ha
Location: South of Rocky River and east of Talbot Lake, in the Athabasca River Valley.
Additional details:
The objective of this proposed prescribed burn is to restore grassland and aspen forest habitat through a re-burn of 2003 Syncline fire slopes.

Douglas-fir Hillsides

Date: Spring
Size: 283 ha
Location: Seven sub-units, all within close proximity to the Jasper townsite, in an area known as Pyramid Bench, west of the Jasper townsite.
Additional details:
The objective of this prescribed fire is to restore Douglas fir savannah-structure habitat and reduce the risk of wildfire to the community of Jasper through enhancement of natural fire barriers on these south facing open slopes.

Backcountry Meadows

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 493 ha (22 units)
Location: Many small units across the backcountry of Jasper National Park.
Additional details:
The goal of burning in these backcountry areas is to restore lower subalpine meadows, shrubs and grass dominated features in the subalpine need periodic disturbance to persist in this heavily forested ecoregion.

In development

Community Fireguard

Date: Spring/Fall
Size: 5-10 ha
Location: The area along the Community Fireguard (trail 8e) in the Pyramid Bench area, west of the townsite.
Additional details:
The goal of maintaining this community fireguard is to reinforce community protection in a FireSmart maintained feature. This cleared fuel break along the Cabin Lake fire road acts as a significant operational feature to manage a potential wildfire and as a line of defence for firefighters to carry out suppression activities to protect the community.

Wildfire risk reduction and FireSmart projects

Wildfire risk reduction work helps limit fire intensity, reduces the potential for spot fires from windblown embers, and improves the effectiveness of fire suppression techniques. FireSmart is a key part of this work.

Did you know: Parks Canada is an active member of the FireSmart program?

FireSmart logo
FireSmart Canada logo

The FireSmart program increases community resilience to wildfire across Canada. FireSmart Canada works closely with communities within the national park including the Municipality of Jasper. They also work with neighbouring communities outside Jasper National Park.

Firesmart fuel maintenance 2003 - 2018

Wildfire risk reduction projects

Jasper is a FireSmart community

This means that we understand the risk of wildfire in a forested community, and take actions to both prepare to respond in the event of an emergency and to reduce the potential impacts of a wildfire.

Parks Canada works with partners for support.

We work with the Municipality of Jasper, Alberta Forestry, BC Wildfire Service, Parks Canada National Fire Program, and other provincial and territorial fire and emergency response agencies to share information, expertise, personnel, and equipment. We train together to prepare for emergencies and share lessons learned from recent wildfires across Canada.

We monitor conditions daily.

There are six weather stations in the park that record hourly temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, wind speed, and wind direction. We use this information, along with national weather reports, to determine the fire danger rating. This tells us how easily a fire could start, how difficult it might be to control, and how long it might burn.

Our team of first responders act fast.

We have our own dedicated initial attack team of fire first responders, along with a fire management officer, fire technician, and fire and vegetation specialist. When the fire danger rating is very high to extreme, the fire crew and a helicopter are on standby. They conduct regular patrols to check for smoke, lightning strikes, and illegal campfires.

We get a lot of help from our friends.

If needed, Parks Canada has access to fire crews and specialists across the country, including five national incident management teams, who can arrive to help manage large, complex wildfire emergencies within 24-48 hours. As a partner in the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, we can also request immediate help from forest fire agencies in every province and territory in Canada and internationally.

We stop random campfires before they start.

The majority of wildfires are started by people. We have a permanent fire restriction that only allows fires in provided fire pits or boxes. This keeps campfires in places where staff can make sure that fires are burning safely and can respond quickly to any reports of unattended or uncontrolled fire. A fire ban is another fire prevention tool we can use to reduce the number of human-caused fires. Illegal fires or camping are investigated and may lead to charges and fines.

More than 10 km2 of forest have been thinned through the wildfire risk reduction program.

Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper are active partners in the “FireSmart” community protection program. As part of this program, we work together to thin the forest near the community, which keeps a wildfire on the ground rather than in the tree tops. When fire is on the ground, it limits fire intensity, reduces windblown embers, and makes it easier for responders to control.

Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper have been working to thin the forest around town since 2003.

Parks Canada maintains a Community Fireguard.

This cleared fuel break on Pyramid Bench along the Cabin Lake fire road acts as a barrier to slow the spread of a wildfire and as a line of defense from which responders can carry out actions to control a fire.

We adapt to the effects of mountain pine beetle.

Mountain pine beetles kill the trees that host them. Dead trees dry out faster than live trees. We are now using a different forest type to predict fire behaviour that better reflects the number of dead trees in our pine forest. This means that we will see more days of high to extreme fire danger, and fire bans may be in place more often and earlier than in previous years.

We are planning for the future.

We are constantly assessing our approach to managing wildfire. We review and adjust plans as the environment and climate around us changes. There are always opportunities to learn and to continually improve community protection. We continue to work closely with our partners to reduce the risk of wildfire to the town and to prepare to work together in the event of an emergency.

You can help protect yourself and your community
  • Report any sign of wildfire to Parks Canada Dispatch 780-852-6155 or call 911.
  • FireSmart begins at home. Contact the Municipality of Jasper's Protective Services for more information at 780-852-1591.
  • Make a plan. Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit. Get the Municipal Evacuation Guide.
  • Download the Alberta Emergency Alert app on your phone.

More information

Phone: 780-883-0020

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