Officials said 90 per cent of power has been restored to the municipality of Jasper after power lines damaged in the Chetamon wildfire caused outage issues all week.
ATCO Electricity has been monitoring the situation and providing backup energy to the municipality. ATCO began rebuilding the systems that were damaged by the fire Friday evening, once power was restored, said spokesperson Amanda Mattern during a press conference Saturday morning.
While all possible efforts are being made to keep energy stable, generators aren’t as reliable as regular energy streams, she said.
“We anticipate there will be intermittent outages over the next few weeks.”
The fire, which was sparked by lightning on Sept. 1, has decreased in size from 8,000 hectares to 5,600 hectares. However, Parks Canada fire officials expect the fire to grow over the weekend as unseasonable temperatures move into the area.
“Now is not the ideal time to visit Jasper,” said Richard Ireland, Jasper’s mayor. “We cannot provide reliable and stable power.”
Parks Canada incident commander Landon Shepherd reiterated the mayor’s sentiment, saying they can only provide essential services in the community, and campsites will remain closed for the time being.
Anyone who was planning on visiting Jasper is being asked to reconsider their travel plans. Residents of Jasper and current visitors are again being asked to monitor their energy usage.
The municipality, ATCO and Parks Canada are all working together to create short-and mid-term contingency plans, said Ireland. These plans will ensure that vulnerable populations, such as seniors, will be taken care of in case there is another major power outage.
No communities are at risk from the fire at this time and officials continue to monitor the situation closely.