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UPDATE: Fire sparked in snow-covered Kal Park forest near Vernon

Hikers discovered small fire in Coldstream provincial park

A fire spotted in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Monday afternoon by some hikers was likely leftovers from deep burning blaze sparked last year.

A group of people discovered a small fire burning in the bush from one of the trails Jan. 3.

“The caller said it was inaccessible by road,” Coldstream Fire Department’s Fiona Morgenthaler Code said.

Due to the location and inaccessibility, the fire was turned over to forestry crews.

Hikers in the park saw a helicopter fly over the area.

“It was weird. There was smoke and a fire burning further into the woods,” said Dean Gordon-Smith, who was out for a walk with his dog Hugo shortly before 4 p.m. when he came across groups of people looking into the woods. “The smoke was spreading out a bit. Not much though.”

It was the second time in a week that a fire was discovered in the park and believed to be the same blaze, burning deep.

“A fire above the Corral Trail was reported to BC Parks on New Year’s Eve. Now we have another four days later. This is very concerning,” said Peter Horsley, with the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Society.

Simone Runyan said she could smell smoke as early as Dec. 30 and figured someone was camping illegally.

She and some others worked with a B.C. Parks ranger on the fire which was “burning a very thick layer of needles and bark around a huge old tree,” she said.

“It seems that an illegal campfire was not put out and started burning the duff. It’s going to be difficult to put out entirely,” added Runyan.

The fire is between the Corral and Cairn trails toward Cosens Bay.

“I hope others can help keep an eye on it because it will likely keep smouldering,” Runyan said.

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Jennifer Smith

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