Forum Index > Trip Reports > Jasper AB + Chetamon wildfire: Sep 4-5, 2022
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fourteen410
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fourteen410
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PostWed Sep 07, 2022 5:20 pm 
We planned to spend a week in Jasper, but nature had other plans. After a wildfire-free summer, a lightning strike ignited the Chetamon Fire in the early morning hours of Sep 1 several miles NE of the Jasper townsite. We considered cancelling our trip, but decided to move forward after officials indicated that the wildfire posed no threat to the town. We landed in Edmonton and drove 4 hours west to Jasper through thick smoke. As our destination grew closer, I had a gut feeling that things were a little more dire than what we'd been told. We pulled off alongside the Athabasca River to observe the inferno.
It was sad to see such beautiful country burning. The winds steered the smoke NE, which allowed for some views once we were south of the blaze.
We stocked up on groceries and fuel that night. The next morning we were jolted awake by a fire alarm at 5am. During the night, the fire burned the power lines that connected the town to the grid. Without any power, the town was eerily dark and still. Hours passed, and each update we received pushed power restoration plans further and further out. All grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and water treatment were shut down due to the outage. Although the town was not in imminent danger, we knew that without food and fuel, it was time to go home. After spending a couple hours rearranging travel plans on a jammed up cell network, we finally secured some flights home for the next day. Before departing, we took advantage of the smoke-free skies provided by a favorable wind. Our first stop was Cavell Pond, where we enjoyed views of Mt. Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier before a thunderstorm set in.
After the storm passed, we headed south to Athabasca Falls.
We headed back up the Icefields Parkway and on to Maligne Lake Road, stopping briefly at Medicine Lake.
Clouds and rain had returned, but we decided to continue on to Maligne Lake anyway. Upon arriving, we were treated to the most magnificent rainbow.
On our way out, we stopped at Maligne Canyon for a short hike before sunset.
While we were super bummed about the circumstances, we knew leaving early was the right choice. Jasper's critical infrastructure is currently running on limited generator power and the town isn't expected to have power fully restored for weeks. Hopefully the town gets some assistance soon. It's such a beautiful place and we look forward to returning once everything recovers.

HitTheTrail, Lindsay, reststep, raising3hikers, Tom, Bowregard, Sculpin, Nancyann, hikerman, rubywrangler, zimmertr  geyer, awilsondc
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Sculpin
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 6:53 am 
Looks like you saw a lot of great country anyway. Years ago, my wife and I did a similar trip to Jasper in the first week of September. It was cold, rainy, and cloudy the entire trip, except for one really windy day. We bailed a day early when it started to snow. I lamented to a shop clerk that we had been hoping for more summer-like weather. He deadpanned "summer was last week." shakehead.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

Lindsay
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Bowregard
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 12:14 pm 
Looks like we were really fortunate with our Jul 27-Aug 15 Jasper-Yoho-Banff NP trip this year. Sorry to hear the fire and weather ruined your plans. Nice photos.

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Pyrites
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 1:35 pm 
Per CBC article today, Jasperís mayor is asking people to stay away.

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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fourteen410
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PostThu Sep 08, 2022 10:59 pm 
^ Yeah, they finally changed the messaging a couple days ago. Seemed a little past due to us.

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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Sep 11, 2022 12:39 pm 
Fire, ice, and water. Not bad scenery. Too bad about your overall trip plans though.

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