Wind topples healthy-looking trees in park damaged in Fort McMurray fire

The park was evacuated last Wednesday after gusts of about 60 km/h

A provincial park in northeastern Alberta is closing early for the season after wind toppled more than 100 seemingly healthy trees.

Gregoire Lake was badly burned in the ferocious 2016 wildfire that destroyed thousands of homes in the nearby city of Fort McMurray.

The province says wet conditions this summer combined with fire-damaged soils caused the trees to fall, even in moderate winds.

The park was evacuated last Wednesday after gusts of about 60 km/h caused more than 20 healthy-looking trees to fall across an access road.

Another 100 trees were downed elsewhere in the park, which has campsites and a beach.

Alberta Environment and Parks says that after the fire, the focus was on clearing dead and damaged trees rather than ones that seemed to be in good shape.

The department says areas previously considered safe must now be thoroughly evaluated.

Gregoire Lake is normally open until Thanksgiving.

“We are looking at all options to ensure that we can offer a safe and reliable service to park users,” said Environment and Parks minister Jason Nixon.

“Although our decision to close the park will affect camping opportunities for the last few weeks of summer, our top priority is always the safety of Albertans.”

The Canadian Press

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