On Wednesday afternoon, a sudden change in the speed and direction of wind caused a prescribed fire in Compound Meadows, in Banff National Park to cross over the boundaries determined for the controlled burn.
Late last night, Parks Canada said that the fire is now being classified as 'being held' after helicopters and fire crews worked to contain the fire. It is estimated that about 3 hectares were burned outside of the unit boundary. It was reported that smoke and flames were highly visible from Banff Avenue, Highway 1 & the Town of Canmore.
"Evening precipitation has further assisted with suppression and given current weather conditions and resources, the fire is not anticipated to grow beyond expected boundaries. Fire personnel will continue to work on the fire today and in the coming days as required," Parks Canada stated.
The fire had crossed from Compound Meadow to the east side of Banff Avenue in the area of Mountainview Cemetery and the horse corrals.
"All people and livestock were safely evacuated from the area and the horses are being hosted at the Banff Trail Riders stables in town. A small number of outbuildings were damaged in the fire, but Banff firefighters believe there is no risk of more damage to corral infrastructure at this time. The area is closed," the Town of Bnaff stated on their website at approximately 8:27 p.m.
The town added that firefighters and Banff RCMP were continuing to work with Parks Canada on the management of a fire 2.5 kilometres northeast of the Banff town site.
"There is no immediate threat to the Town of Banff and no requirements for people to prepare to evacuate from any areas of town," the town stated.
Residents are urged to stay away from the area to allow crews to focus on fire suppression. Highway drivers will experience delays as smoke continues to cross the route and traffic is controlled. Norquay Road access remains completely unaffected.
The Banff Legacy Trail and the Banff Avenue Trans Canada Highway interchange are closed.
An update from Parks Canada is expected later this morning.