Wildfire season is a widespread occurrence that officially starts on May 1 and runs until October 31 each year. While it’s never a situation anyone wants to have to worry about, wildfires have always been a concern for train travelers in Canada during the summer months. With the hotter conditions drying out ecosystems, there has been an increased risk in the size and frequency of wildfires over the years. This means that these wildfires are unplanned and unpredictable. In fact, there are roughly 8,000 wildfires across Canada each year, burning an average of 2.5 million hectares.

Each year, we can expect a handful of train departures from VIA Rail or Rocky Mountaineer to be impacted by wildfires but rarely do the delays or closures extend over a significant period of time. Canada is a very large country and more often than not, the fires are happening far away from major cities, towns, or rail lines. The rail lines in Canada are critical infrastructure used for transporting goods across the country so when rail traffic is impacted by wildfires, the issues are often addressed quickly.

What are we able to do when a wildfire impacts train travel?

At Canada Rail Vacations, we are always monitoring the wildfire situation closely. The safety and well-being of residents, emergency responders, and travelers are always the top priority. As situations evolve, and authorities continue to monitor and assess the impact on transportation infrastructure, we will make the necessary adjustments when it is deemed no longer safe to travel. Should wildfires impact your trip specifically, we will contact you right away as we manage and handle each situation on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best available outcome for your holiday.

As noted by one of our recent guests who found themselves faced with being rerouted:

Once we were in Jasper and the VIA Train was canceled due to the fires, your team hunkered down and managed to get us to Calgary as well as a flight to Toronto.  Other tourists were left stranded and had to make their own arrangements.  We were so grateful that we did not feel abandoned by our tour agent(Canada Rail Vacations). Jake(Tour Guide) was such a good sport spending another day with us.  He put in an extremely long day; he was never grumpy, rude, or short with us.  He is such a pleasant person; we thoroughly enjoyed meeting him.

It is important to note that while wildfires may not always have a direct impact on travel, the effects of air pollution may be visible. We understand that the air quality will affect people differently and may present serious health concerns for some. If this is a concern of yours and you have not yet purchased travel insurance, we highly recommend that you speak to an insurance provider about protecting yourself and your investment from unexpected events and circumstances such as this. You can click the following link to get a quick and easy online quote: Travel Insurance, or contact Sanderson Travel Insurance at 1-877-226-8728 if you would like to speak to someone directly.

We would like to stress the importance of purchasing travel insurance for a trip of this caliber as unexpected events can happen, and once payments are made, they are non-refundable and non-transferable to new dates. Please take the time to read our company Terms and Conditions.

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