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Small fires around Jasper cause big headaches

Parks Canada reminded people to keep campfires in designated firepits and that they must be extinguished properly.

A small wildfire on a trail near Katrine Lake was reported just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday. A Parks Canada Fire Crew had it swiftly extinguished by mid-afternoon that day.

“Fire Crew found discarded food at the fire origin site and no sign of lighting activity, indicating that the fire was human caused,” reported Parks Canada on its social media post.

There was no immediate threat to people and facilities from the fire that reached approximately five by five metres in size.

“Thanks to early public reporting, Parks Canada fire crews were able to respond quickly. Timely reporting and response time are crucial, especially in windy conditions,” the post read.

Parks Canada reminded everyone to keep campfires small and only in designated firepits or boxes. As well, fires must be attended to at all times and completely extinguished with water. Cigarettes must also be extinguished properly, not thrown on the ground.

People should report wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155 or by calling 911.

Power outage

The incidents follow a weekend without electricity for some residences and businesses in the north end of the townsite. ATCO reported two power outages caused by trees on June 14.

The first was caused by a small bushfire at 3:42 p.m., leaving a damaged tree to fall onto utility infrastructure, impacting three customers.

At 5:00 p.m., high winds broke two trees that then toppled onto several ATCO structures. The downed lines sparked another fire.

The Jasper Fire Department responded to a small fire related to the downed power line in the area behind Aspen Crescent and Bonhomme Street. The fire was soon extinguished.

The outage originally affected 300 customers in Patricia Lake, Pyramid Lake, Bear Hill Lodge, Chateau Jasper and Jasper Inn hotels, as well as in the Bonhomme and Aspen Crescent areas.

Crews were able to restore power to 200 customers within a few hours that evening. The damage was more severe than first thought, read the utility company’s message on the Municipality of Jasper’s social media post on the weekend.

“Restoring power to the remaining 100 customers was more complex and with unavoidable challenges,” ATCO spokesperson Doris Kaufmann Woodcock stated in an email to the Fitzhugh.

“There was extensive damage to multiple structures and the dense hillside terrain made the site difficult to access.”

The bucket truck could not access the site directly, so crews had to carry in equipment and supplies. Once on site, they had to climb the poles to complete the repairs.

Additional crews also had to be brought in with heavy equipment and other materials from out of town. ATCO’s Utility Terrain Vehicles then needed to meet the Park’s stringent cleanliness requirements before being cleared to enter the area. 

Power to the remaining 100 customers was restored just before the supper hour on Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16.

The municipality responded to the delay by keeping the Activity Centre open for people to access charging stations and have hot showers. Glenda the Great Catering had the lunch counter open as well for those who needed good hot food.

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