ALBERTA
07/09/2014 09:24 EDT | Updated 09/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Lightning Strike Causes Fire In Banff National Park, Officials Let It Burn

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BANFF, Alta. - Wildfires are usually a bad thing but provincial officials say a blaze sparked by lightning in Banff National Park has actually done them a favour.

Alberta Wildfire Information Officer Geoffrey Driscoll says the fire, which is contained, is in an area where they were planning to do a prescribed burn.

He says it was started by lightning a few days ago, and there’s no urgency to put it out.

The wildfire is surrounded by natural fire breaks like streams and mountains and it could be weeks or months before it burns itself out.

No-stopping zones are in place on Highway 93 North and Highway 11 due to fire operations and smoke in the area.

Alberta has recorded about 800 wildfires so far this year, down from the average of 900.

A fire advisory was issued Wednesday in the Slave Lake Wildlife Management Area, where the hazard is considered high due to a lack of rain and increasing temperatures.

Safe campfires will be permitted in campgrounds and backcountry or random camping areas, but permits for other burning may be restricted.

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