Trespassers abandon campfire near Violin Lake

Even a $50,000 investment for two heavy locked gates isn’t keeping trespassers out of Violin Lake.

Regional fire crews were called out to extinguish an abandoned campfire in Violin Lake late Wednesday afternoon.

Even a $50,000 investment for two heavy locked gates isn’t keeping trespassers out of Violin Lake.

Adding to the problem is careless intruders a campfire was abandoned lake side on Wednesday.

Fortunately the fire was caught early, the regional fire service was able to snuff the flames before wildfire spread to the surrounding forest.

Fire Chief Terry Martin says the call came in just after 3:30 p.m., someone reported smoke to the Southeast Fire Centre and the centre alerted Regional District of Kootenay Boundary fire rescue to the scene, a half kilometre down the west side of the lake.

Eight firefighters attended and even though the fire was extinguished in a half hour, the crew stayed on site until 6 p.m. to work on hot spots and ensure the entire area was fully doused with water.

“There’s no need for this, it wasn’t an unattended fire, it was an abandoned campfire,” Martin told the Trail Times. “It’s getting drier out there and there’s no rain in the near forecast so we have to be really careful right now.”

Larry Abenante, manager of Trail public works, was at the site while crews put out the flames and watered down the vicinity.

He’s frustrated with the situation because the property is city-owned and it’s clear the land is private, people are not allowed in the Violin Lake area.

“It is out of bounds,” Abenante emphasized. “The city spent $50,000 on two brand new gates to secure the property, there’s big ‘Do not trespass’ signs, but they are still getting in and it’s a huge liability.”

And people are not getting in for a quick dip then leaving, they seem to be staying awhile.

Near the abandoned campfire is a hang out area, Abenante says.

A stand-type structure was built and had a rope attached, which was used to swing out into the water.

“They have a set up there,” he added. “And when they left yesterday, the fire was left burning.”

While he was patrolling the area on Wednesday, Abenante happened across a person riding a motor bike on city property.

“I said, ‘Do you realize this is private property and that you are trespassing,’” he continued.

The motorcyclist denied knowing the land was off limits, and then scooted away on a well-used path.

“He went off the road and down into the creek, what they’ve done is put a whole bunch of logs on the creek and built themselves a bridge,” Abenante said. “So they go across that, up the bank and onto the other side which is on the Casino side of our gate.”

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