BANFF, Alta. - Visitors planning to drive along a major highway in the Alberta Rockies may face delays due to a wildfire.
Parks Canada says a 20-kilometre stretch of Highway 93 North, also called the Icefields Parkway, just south of the junction with Highway 11 could be closed from 2 p.m. local time to 7 a.m. daily so fire crews can try to contain the Spreading Creek fire.
Lightning started the fire at the boundary between Banff National Park and the province of Alberta on July 3 and it has since grown to 25 square kilometres.
Parks Canada spokeswoman Tania Peters says they are trying to help shippers and tourists plan their trips so they don't face long delays.
On Monday, the section of highway from Saskatchewan Crossing to Waterfowl campground was closed at 2 p.m. and will reopen Tuesday morning at 7 a.m.
Peters says it's challenging because the fire is unpredictable, so if conditions put the public at risk, the highway will have to be closed.
"In an effort to minimize disruptions, our goal is to have the Icefields Parkway open as long as it is safe to do so. So there's potential for delays or closures any time, but it's highest after 2 p.m. until 7 a.m."
It's the busiest time of the year for Banff and Jasper national parks.
Peters said the best place to get up to date road information is the website 511.alberta.ca.
Ground and aerial crews are trying to prevent the fire from spreading west across Highway 93.
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A young bear breaks the speed limit at a Lake Louise campground.
Waters from June's flood forced these elk onto the highway and they needed a little help getting back ‘out’.
This female grizzly set up her den on the north side of Mt. Whitehorn outside the Lake Louise Ski Resort last year, and officers think she may be pregnant. The area has since been closed to give her the space she needs and we could see cubs in 2014!
A baby black bear runs across the Bow Valley Parkway. In 2014, a mandatory seasonal overnight travel restriction will be implemented as part of a suite of enhanced environmental protection – helping to keep little ones like this just a little safer during a critical time of year.
Two coyote pups peek out from underneath a fallen tree. According to Parks Canada, common areas to see coyotes are in sandy zones (they can dig easier into sand for denning purposes) along Tunnel Mountain Road and the Golf Course Road.
Bear 128 and his sibling were orphaned several years ago when their mother died. This spring he was seen travelling with another young male, Bear 126. Officers think they found safety in numbers, as bears rarely tend to socialize. However, Bear 126 met a lady friend in 2013. Here the two are captured in an intimate moment.
In early winter 2013, nine elk fell through the ice and drowned in the Bow River. Most were removed by staff and flown to a safer location for predators, but this large grizzly discovered one more and spent a few days gorging himself before the cold weather really set in.
A disoriented moose is ushered back through gates designed to keep animals off the busy highways that run through the park.
This Lynx (and her kittens) became quite enamoured with her reflection last winter, staring at herself in the window of Deer Lodge in Lake Louise. She moved on safely.
The Bow River Bridge at Castle Junction has been home to this family of osprey for many years. A good telephoto lens captured this shot from the road.
People come to catch glimpses of bears and elk, almost missing the Grey Owl, who blends right in to the tree stump.
A stranded loon is transported by wildlife staff back to the lake after heavy winds forced it to crash land while in flight. Loons are unable to take off from land, so it needed a bit of human help to get him back to water.
A reminder to put your garbage where it belongs. Officers had to rescue this weak and struggling coyote after its head got stuck in a plastic bottle last year.