Fire on Smokey Lake, Noganosh Lake Provincial Park
While paddling out from Noganosh Lake yesterday morning, we happened to notice some smoke from what we initially thought was a campfire at the southernmost campsite on Smokey Lake in Noganosh Lake Provincial Park. There was, however, no one at the site and the smoke was coming from a fire ring that had been built on soil amidst mature pines in the middle of the campsite. Not only was the pre-existing fire pit ignored but a potential tenting site was ruined. Additionally, the previous user left numerous traces of his/her presence including a broken folding camp chair, charred food remains, and litter. We spent over an hour dousing the area with water and breaking up the soil and roots in an effort to extinguish the fire as well as packing out all of the garbage. While there was no remaining evidence of smoke and the soil was cool and wet to the touch, we did notify the owners of Smokey Lake Lodge and, later, park authorities of the fire due to the insidious nature of root fires and the posted extreme fire hazard. Park authorities, already dealing with a fire in Grundy Provincial Park, took GPS coordinates and made a copy of our topographic map so that a crew could be sent out.
I don't often get on a rant but this blatant disregard of backcountry safety and etiquette displays gross ignorance, carelessness, and flagrant negligence. We are fortunate to have plentiful and readily accessible natural areas and it behoves us to engage in responsible behaviours that will ensure the protection of our natural environment.