A controlled burn involving Canada’s first-ever “Women-in-Fire Training Exchange” (WTREX) led to the evacuation of residents, tourists, and livestock as the fire turned into an “out of control” blaze, Rebel News reports.
The prescribed burn occurred in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada’s oldest national park.
Parks Canada blamed the spread on unexpected winds.
“On the afternoon of May 3, 2023, Parks Canada carried out a prescribed fire in Compound Meadows, in Banff National Park,” a Twitter post from the parks service said. “Around 1600, due to an unexpected shift in wind direction and speed, the fire escaped the predetermined boundary.”
The fire spread across the street and threatened to damage a cemetery, an event tent, and a resort. A temporary evacuation order for residents, tourists, and livestock was issued. The order was rescinded later that same day, and the fire is now considered to be under control. Five helicopters were reportedly needed to contain the blaze.
The burn was part of a 12-day program designed “to engage participants of all different genders, ethnic, and racial backgrounds to explore the growing role of women in fire management.”
“[Did you know] women are still underrepresented in the firefighting community?” a Twitter post from Parks Canada said in March. “Diversity is strength which is why #WTREXCanada empowers more women to become leaders in fire management!”