July 20, 2017 1:41 pm
Updated: July 21, 2017 7:25 pm

Sunshine Village closed to visitors as crews battle nearby wildfire

WATCH: The firefighters have moved into Sunshine Village to help stop a fire not far away. Jill Croteau has reaction from visitors and staff of the popular mountain resort.


Visitors at Sunshine Village will be packing up and heading out on Friday, as the lodge is being closed to guests until further notice as crews continue to battle a still-out-of-control wildfire.

The village will be closed as of noon on Friday, July 21, and will be converted to a staging ground for Parks Canada firefighting crews, the agency said Thursday.

WATCH: Rick Kubian from Parks Canada explains the movement of the fire

The fire is burning in Kootenay National Park and has spread further into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and is currently about 2.5 kilometres from Sunshine Park.

READ MORE: ‘High to extreme’ danger across Alberta, BC parks spurs extension of fire ban

While it’s not spreading toward any communities or infrastructure, Parks Canada is taking proactive steps to keep it that way.

“The fire has not moved in that area in over two days,” said Parks Canada incident commander Rick Kubian.

WATCH: Rick Kubian from Parks Canada provides an update on the Verdant Creek wildfire, including the tactical closure of Sunshine Village.

“So it’s in some upper sub-alpine vegetation and is holding there, with us applying fire management activity – primarily bucketing with helicopters in the area to maintain it where it is.”

“It’s not moving any closer to values at risk in general and it’s certainly not moving closer to any local communities.”

WATCH: Rick Kubian from Parks Canada says they believe they have the right strategies in play against the Verdant Creek wildfire

Kubian said sixhelicopters and 60 personnel are battling the fire. Setting up a base at Sunshine Village will give them easier access to the fire area.

READ MORE: IN PHOTOS: Mystic smoke from wildfires drifts through Rocky Mountains

“It’s going to be a really busy area over the next few days with helicopters moving around. We’re going to be using it as a staging area and there is some potential for increased smoke there,” Kubian said, adding that guests were told in a calm and organized way.

WATCH: Rick Kubian from Parks Canada explains the evacuation plan from Sunshine Village

Kubian said the fire still hasn’t crossed the Continental Divide, but rather is burning parallel to the geography.

The fire is about 24 kilometres from the Town of Banff and about 2.5 kilometres from Sunshine Village.

The fire has spurred several closures of hiking trails and backcountry camping, as well as a fire ban.

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