Photo Essay Page   Home     Help   Index     Login
Kootenay Fire from Kindersley-Sinclair Col # 4136

Below is a description of the photograph you were looking for, and the circumstances surrounding the photo.
Date: 2003.08.03
Vantage Point: From Kindersley-Sinclair Col

Caption: Smoke billows skyward from a distant fire in Kootenay National Park.

PhotoDescr: Hot weather and dry conditions have made a tinderbox of the Rockies and the British Columbia Interior in the summer of 2003. About a year ago, I selected the Kindersley Pass-Sinclair Creek Circuit at the south end of Kootenay National Park as the second-day hike for the 2003 August long weekend for a Grant MacEwan Mountain Club trip. When we drove down from Lake Louise on Sunday morning, we could see one of the Tokumm Creek fires burning above Highway 93, but that was a long way from our destination.

At the high point of the circuit, the col between the heads of the Kindersley Creek and Sinclair Creek valleys, we saw a huge plume of smoke quickly appear off to the north, looking through Nixon Pass. A water bomber flew overhead, and soon thereafter, the grey smoke turned to white.

We thought nothing more of it at the time, but when we completed the hike and headed back to Lake Louise, we were stopped at a blockade. A fire, possibly the one in the photo, was burning along Verendrye Creek and threatening the historic Kootenay Park Lodge. Highway 93 was closed, and we had to backtrack to Radium Hot Springs, and then go north to Golden and east on the Trans-Canada to get back to Lake Louise.

We later heard that the Kindersley Pass-Sinclair Creek Circuit was one of only a very few trails in Kootenay NP that hadn't been closed before or during that day because of the fires. By Wednesday, it too had been closed: "Wildfire burning in the area. Hazard exists for hikers."

To see the full size photos you must login as a paid member. Use the Login Page. (message p3)