A lightning-sparked wildfire has forced Parks Canada to completely evacuate Waterton Lakes National Park.
The evacuation order was issued on Friday afternoon (Sept. 8) by the superintendent for all of the national park including the townsite, all front-country and back-country trails and facilities due to the public safety risk from the Kenow wildfire, which began on Aug. 30 on the B.C. side of the Continental Divide.
According to a Parks Canada press release "a change in weather conditions has led to increased potential danger and hazards from the Kenow wildfire that necessitates the evacuation of the park."
RCMP and Parks are working together to evacuate people from the area and reception centre set up in Pincher Creek.
The 7,800-hectare wildfire started west of Waterton Lakes National Park in the Flathead Valley and is not contained, according to the press release.
According to the 2016 Statistics Canada census profile, there are 105 residents in Waterton Park. Waterton Lake National Park is 505 square kilometres with three Parks Canada operated campgrounds, and nine designated wilderness areas for back-country camping. It is a designated UNESCO world heritage site, part of the cross-border Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and has two national historic sites.