Wildlife returning after controlled Rabbit Creek fire ran askew

Deer roam in the recovering vegetation on August 23, 2018. (Parks Canada/Supplied)

A couple months after Parks Canada declared a wildfire extinguished, animals are coming back to their recovering homes in Prince Albert National Park.

The Rabbit Creek wildfire blazed over its control line on May 6 when higher than forecasted winds blew the flames too far.

Parks Canada said it was extinguished on July 15, after spreading over 36,665 hectares.

Ecologist Team Leader Dustin Guedo was on site reflecting on the unplanned incident to local leaders who came on a tour.

“The post-fire environment is diverse. The fire burned very unevenly, causing the fire disturbances to vary from completely burned areas all blackened with soot; to areas of green islands untouched by the fire as the fire burned around it,” he explained in a news release.

“The ground throughout the burned area has grown over with vegetation. Some of the same species of plants and trees that were previously there have grown back while in other areas, the vegetation has sprouted from seeds that were lying dominant in the soil layers. Animals and birds have returned to the area and appeared in images captured by trail cameras,” said Parks Canada.

It estimates about $7 million was spent on the wildfire, but the exact cost is not yet calculated because it hasn’t received all the invoices.

During the fire’s peak, about 200 personnel were dedicated to the incident, as well as 13 helicopters, 18 bulldozers, two water bombers and one bird dog aircraft.