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Careless use of flare guns believed to have sparked Kal Park blaze

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
June 24, 2015 - 12:19 PM

VERNON - A fire in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park Tuesday night is believed to have been caused by reckless behaviour.

Coldstream fire chief Dave Sturgeon says crews responded to a small, one-metre by one-metre grass fire in the Rattlesnake Point area of Kal Park around 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23. By the time firefighters arrived, bystanders already had the fire out by stomping on it and dousing it with water. They told the fire department the blaze started when another group of individuals shot off a flare gun in the park. According to witnesses, the group was firing flares out across the lake before turning and pointing it at the park. The group is not believed to have been setting off the flares due to an emergency situation.

“By all accounts, it looks like it was reckless behaviour,” Sturgeon says.

The individuals reportedly took off after the fire started, and no suspects have been identified.

“Unfortunately, they (bystanders) weren’t able to, or didn’t think of calling the RCMP, which would’ve been a big deterrent for these people being reckless. We could’ve maybe been able to corner the individuals in the park,” Sturgeon says.

He’s encouraging the public to report activity that has, or could, cause a wildfire to the police, as well as the fire department.

With dry conditions in the park, and hot weather on the way, Sturgeon says it’s extremely important for people to be cognizant of the fire risk and to take precautions. The area where the fire started was located a good hike in from the parking lot on a cliff, and had the fire not been contained, Sturgeon says crews would’ve been forced to pack in water and tools, or likely call in air support.

“If those citizens weren’t there, we’d have another story and probably still be out there today,” Sturgeon says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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