Jasper Wildfire: Growing Wildfire Disrupts Feeding

The town of Jasper in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains temporarily lost power Sunday night after a massive wildfire ripped through transmission lines.

In a statement sent at 6:20 p.m. Sunday, Parks Canada confirmed that the community had lost power. By 7:06 p.m., power had been restored and crews were working to “assess the power line.”

The out-of-control blaze sparked by a lightning strike on Thursday morning had grown to more than 1,500 hectares by Sunday, nearly four times the size officials estimated by Saturday morning.

At a news conference on Sunday afternoon, officials said seven to 10 utility poles were burning and winds had carried the flames closer to other utility corridors, including a CN line, but away from the Jasper townsite.

At the time, emergency management personnel warned residents to prepare for a potential power outage, but were optimistic that fire prevention measures would be held.

Standby generators have been installed in the community to provide power to critical infrastructure, but not residences.

Jasper officials said an evacuation process was not being considered at the time of publication because the flames posed no risk to the townsite.

“The wildfire situation is continually evolving and changing,” said Janelle Verbruggen, wildfire information officer at Parks Canada, in a statement.

“It is imperative that visitors and residents of Jasper follow social media updates and city recommendations, adhere to area closures and adhere to reduced speed limits,” she added.

“Parks Canada, ATCO and the Municipality of Jasper are working closely and will update the public soon.”