Public safety is at the core of everything that we do, and wildfire response is part of our daily operations. We understand the risk of wildfire in a forested community. 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 Yoho 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 and enhance habitat for wildlife. They also help reduce the risk of wildfire to neighbouring communities.

View planned prescribed fires in the mountain national parks.

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. The FireSmart program empowers the public and increases community resilience to wildfire across Canada.

Learn more about how you can protect yourself and your community.

FireSmart (expected completion November 2023)

In fall 2023, Parks Canada is conducting FireSmart work to reduce forest fuels near Emerald Lake Lodge. Vegetation will be hand-thinned with chainsaws and debris burned on site, conditions permitting.

  • Minimal smoke may be visible. Burning will only take place when safe to do so and when appropriate venting conditions exist.
  • All roads, trails and facilities will remain open. Treatment areas will be closed for public safety and signage will be posted on site.
  • Please respect all closures and warning signs.
Ross Lake Fire Guard (expected completion spring 2024)

As early as November 15, 2023, Parks Canada plans to start work on the 49-hectare Ross Lake Fire Guard along the Great Divide Trail (old Highway 1A) near the Continental Divide in Yoho National Park. This project is to create a landscape-level fire guard to reduce the risk of wildfire to the nearby communities of Lake Louise, Field and surrounding area. This will create a safer environment for park visitors and residents.

Fire guards also improve ecological integrity. Once completed, the Ross Lake Fire Guard area will be more open, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor where sun-loving plants can flourish. This improves biodiversity, enhances wildlife corridors and improves feeding opportunities for local wildlife populations like grizzly bears and ungulates.

For safety, area closures will be put in place to prohibit public access to the project area:
  • The 1.5 km western end of the Great Divide Trail (old Highway 1A). This closed section in Yoho National Park will not be track set for cross country skiing in winter 2023/24.
  • When tree cutting and burning activities are occurring nearby, short term closures will also be implemented for sections of the Ross Lake Loop Trail.
  • For an up to date list of area closures, visit Yoho National Park Important Bulletins.

Mechanical tree removal will be used to remove large sections of trees within the project area. During operations, the public can expect to see heavy machinery and trucks hauling timber seven days a week, 24 hours a day and smoke from burning debris piles near the Trans-Canada Highway exit to Lake O’Hara along the Great Divide Trail/Continental Divide. Motorists should be prepared for the potential of reduced visibility on sections of the Trans-Canada Highway while operations are taking place.

Email notification lists

To be added to an email notification list, please contact Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay Field Unit.

  • Smoke notification list: Residents who are sensitive to smoke can receive advance warning of burning.
  • Community stakeholders list: Fire information for local organizations and businesses who wish to stay informed about fire operations.
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