Parks Canada has sent a third helicopter to fight a 1,100-hectare wildfire burning south of Waterton Lakes National Park.
High winds and dry conditions were expected to lead to continued fire activity and smoke Saturday, Parks Canada said, and small amounts of precipitation in the early morning hours did nothing to suppress the blaze.
Hot spots were observed on the east perimeter of the wildfire during a reconnaissance flight at 8 a.m., Parks spokesperson John Stoesser said in an emailed release.
Two helicopters have already been bucketing water on those hot spots with the objective of holding the wildfire at an avalanche path which provides a natural firebreak in Montana’s Boundary Valley.
Once hot spots are extinguished by bucketing, ground crews will ensure they are completely out, Parks said.
Parks Canada also has an initial attack crew — which can range from three to six firefighters — and an incident management team working on the fire, while the U.S. incident management team is deploying heavy helicopters as winds permit and the team has 19 U.S. firefighters working at Boundary Bay Backcountry Campground.
“Additional objectives include preventing the wildfire from spreading south around Campbell Mountain and back into the Waterton Valley, and managing fire activity on the west perimeter to suppress smoke that could affect air operations,” Stoesser said in the release.
A cooler forecast over the next few days could bring some relief for crews.