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Banff Lake Louise, Jasper - Smoke??

My trip to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper is coming up pretty quickly now. Earlier in the year I received some good advice and ideas for things to do and places to "take in." I am somewhat concerned about the air quality in the area since here in Seattle we have been dealing with very bad air quality from the fires around the region. So, my question is for anybody that is currently traveling in and around the Canadian Rockies to let me know if you are experiencing any particular problems with air quality. I have pulled up some of the Canadian weather alert sites and there doesn't appear to be any problems.

Maybe I am getting the travel jitters... :)

Thanks, Linda

Posted by
2526 posts

The air is very bad and many fires in Glacier National Park which is south of your intended destination.

Posted by
471 posts

Odd that the weather sites are saying there aren't any problem with air quality. I'm getting daily email pop ups from The Weather Network about air quality where I live in northern British Columbia and have friends in Ontario - 4 Provinces east - that are complaining about the levels of smoke from the fires out here.

Here's a link to a map of all current wildfires in BC:

https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=ef6f11c8c36b42c29e103f65dbcd7538

It's a good bet that smoke will be a problem in the near future in the areas you will be visiting.

Posted by
804 posts

I did see the reports for smoke in BC but not Alberta. Guess it really kind of depends on wind too...

Posted by
6876 posts

All other things being equal, the air quality should be better at higher mountain elevations compared to Seattle

Posted by
31513 posts

Linda,

When is your trip taking place? The smoke conditions are expected to improve this week with a change in wind direction driving the smoke towards the coast. There's already a slight improvement here in the Okanagan, and hopefully that will continue.

You can check current conditions in Banff / Jasper / Lake Louise using the webcams.....

Some of the webcam pages also list current weather at the bottom.

One other point to note is that if you'll be taking any cable cars to higher elevations in those locations, you may find clean air and blue skies. For example......

I took a run up to Silver Star yesterday afternoon and it was beautiful, blue skies and a light breeze. Certainly an improvement over conditions in the valley!

Good luck!

Posted by
804 posts

Oh my, Ken. This is encouraging. My trip is 9/1st to 9/9th and so, I am hopeful. This area has been on my bucket list since I was in middle school (I don't want to say how long ago that was)... suffice to say, a real big deal for me.

Linda

Posted by
327 posts

I hate to be the bearer of bad news ... I live 4 hours drive east of Jasper National Park in central Alberta. This has been the worst summer for wildfire smoke from British Columbia since 1961 (according to today's news!). It varies from day to day - the wind changes in a matter of hours ... normal bright blue summer skies change quickly to poor visibility and air quality advisories that have been lasting for days. Today there were sunny skies in Edmonton, Banff, and Jasper and smoke in Calgary (1.5 hours from Banff). A few days ago, Banff had thick smoke and poor visibility. We are all in the middle of a drought and need rain badly (without lightening). You'll probably just have to take your chances and hope for the best.

Posted by
31513 posts

Linda,

The smoke situation is somewhat dynamic and changes from day-to-day. As your trip isn't until 1 Sept., hopefully things will have improved by then (but of course no guarantees). Scattered showers are forecasted for Sunday in this area, and I'm sure that will help.

Posted by
327 posts

Linda: I do hope you will experience your dream trip to Banff and Jasper National Parks, however, the air quality will be dependent on Mother Nature.

Today is more normal for most of Alberta, but tomorrow is looking to be very smoky again, according to the Alberta Air Quality Health Index. http://airquality.alberta.ca/map/ (Hinton would be the community for Jasper)

Here are the headlines from a local TV station (also in today's Edmonton Journal newspaper):

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for Jasper tourists
By Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/news/4396249/jasper-tourism-bc-wildfires-smoke/

Posted by
804 posts

Guess what! I am going. One of the attorneys in my firm is there in Banff and says that the smoke has cleared out a lot. Since there was rain and more predicted, there are clouds to hide some views but not significant. So, I have decided not to cancel my trip.

Will post a short trip report upon my return. Thanks again for all your help.

Posted by
31513 posts

Fantastic! I figured the smoke might have dissipated by the time your trip takes place. There's virtually no smoke here in the Okanagan, and hopefully it stays that way! Temperatures have cooled, we've had some rain and the winds have co-operated.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
804 posts

Thanks Ken for your encouragement. I have packed thermals, down, and rain jacket. Ho, and my Seattle Sounders beanie and leather gloves.

Linda

Posted by
2526 posts

Shazam! Smoke is greatly diminished next to Glacier National Park. This, during my favorite time of year.

Posted by
31513 posts

Linda,

I believe your trip is ending tomorrow. I hope it was everything you hoped for, and that you had a wonderful, smoke-free trip!

Posted by
804 posts

Ken,

Yes, my trip was fabulous and I could not be happier with how things went. Now back to work and busy with life here in Seattle. I will try to prepare a short trip report later in the week.

Happy travels,
Linda