Kootenay National Park

Octopus Mountain Fire under Watchful Eye of Parks Canada

The heat wave being experienced across much of Canada is keeping fire fighters on their toes. Heavily forested British Columbia is no exception. One large blaze in the Kootenay National Park has been labeled the Octopus Mountain blaze. As of the early hours of August 16th the fire had consumed 80 hectares of forestland.

Parks Canada is watching this blaze closely because the area is adjacent to the Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. Currently the agency has two helicopters and fire crews keeping an eye on the fires. Efforts are being coordinated with B.C. Wildlife Management and B.C. Provincial Parks.

Fire communications officer Julie Millen noted the crews are looking for specific trigger points in order to complete a plan of containment. Firefighters are being helped by some light rain brought in by a cold front that is keeping the fire localized. But with that cold front comes the threat of lightning strikes which could cause additional fires. The Octopus Mountain Blaze was started by a lightning strike. The forecast predicts lightning storms through this coming Sunday.

Travelers driving along Highway 93 South and in Sunshine Village, about 20 kilometres away to the northeast, may see smoke. Millen noted that at present no structures are threatened except for one cabin belonging to Parks Canada. A sprinkler system has been set up to protect it. Parks Canada has also closed trails in the Simpson Creek and Lachine basins as a precaution. Anyone planning on visiting the area should check the websites for Parks Canada or the B.C. Provincial Parks for the latest on the fire, road and trail closures.

Octopus Mountain got its name from photographer and surveyor Robert Daniel McCaw in 1913. He was working on what would become the Banff-Windermere Highway, or Highway 93 South, part of the Great Circle Tour of national parks throughout Canada and the United States.

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