Burnt ice hut left to sink on Whitson Lake

sudbury.com reports: Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan took to Facebook (as he often does) this week to express his frustration at an ice hut that was burned on Whitson Lake recently.

Kirwan told Sudbury.com a Ward 5 constituent tipped him off to the incident and sent him the photos. The city councillor also said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been notified.

In his Facebook postKirwan wrote that he found it “disheartening” and irresponsible that someone would burn their ice hut rather than removing it from the lake.

“Why on earth would someone burn down their ice fishing hut instead of doing the responsible thing and removing it from the lake?” he wrote. “It is very disheartening for local residents of Whitson Lake to see this kind of destruction on their wonderful lake. I imagine that scenes like this, plus garbage remnants can be found on a lot of our lakes. Please be responsible and consider the environment.”

Ice huts must be removed from certain Fisheries Management Zones (FMZ) in Ontario by a specified date. Depending on where you’re located, that’s mostly between March 1 and March 31. All ice huts must be removed before ice breakup, even if no removal date applies.

Ice hut owners are responsible to remove all debris, garbage etc. from the ice in the vicinity of their ice huts.

Leaving debris frozen in the ice becomes an environmental and a public safety concern, i.e. boaters colliding with wooden blocks, tarps, ice hut parts, etc.

If ice huts remain out on the ice beyond the specified deadline, the matter will be investigated and may result in charges being laid against the owner(s) of the hut.

To report a natural resources violation, phone the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.


Source: www.sudbury.com

Photo credit: Councillor Robert Kirwan

5 Replies to “Burnt ice hut left to sink on Whitson Lake”

  1. The question….“Why on earth would someone burn down their ice fishing hut instead of doing the responsible thing and removing it from the lake?”

    Certainly, it is insane to have someone burn down their ice hut after spending the time and expense of constructing such a shack, then dragging it out onto the ice. Thinking outside that
    “Angling Bubble”, this supposedly nefarious action should raise a couple of alternate “Red Flags”.

    I have two other activities to throw out there worth our consideration. One would be ARSON!….by an individual(s) other than the property owner. Secondly, an accidental fire. Some of these huts contain propane heaters and other flammable materials. These should not be ruled out of the “question”! If any one of these are proven true, we have a bigger problem to contend with in the meantime.

    A thorough investigative process should be undertaken before jumping to any conclusions.

  2. My opinion is that ALL such ice huts must be licensed by the MNRF on every lake in the province. Certainly the CO’s are out and about checking fishing licenses as well as creel counts so why not include for checking to see that all huts have a license sticker or number or whatever while they are out there. Here is the northwest we see CO’s a lot on not only the large lakes like Rainy, Lake of the Woods or the Manitou, but also on the popular smaller lakes. Several years ago I reported an abandoned outfitter tent c/w wood stove etc that had collapsed into the water during thaw. I don’t think anything was done about it.

  3. Giving this incident more thought, and this is entirely speculation on my part, there are three obvious scenarios at play here as I previously stated….

    1) The fire was set by the owner of the hut.
    2) The fire was set by a person or persons unknown.
    3) The fire was accidental.

    So, let’s do a little detective work of our own.

    I have learned that any good Fire Investigator would go through a process of elimination rather than looking for the cause outright. The first two both involve a case of arson where as the third does not. That alone reduces the possibilities down to just two.

    Now percentage wise, I would estimate an accidental fire at about 5%. Fire by owner at around 25%, because only an irrational person would destroy their own property. Fire by person or persons unknown up to 70%. As we all should know, arsonists get some sort of cheap thrill setting fires and then sitting back and watching the action. I don’t want to point fingers, but it does bring into question the unknown constituent.

    Let’s assume for a moment it was indeed arson. You need to ask yourself several questions. Is there any evidence of an accelerant (gasoline or other canned fuel)? Are there any foot prints around the hut and/or snow machine tread marks, since they would require a quick getaway?….A late night party can stoke the fires of mischievousness (no pun intended). As Rick Hellum mentioned above, “all such ice huts must be licensed by the MNRF on every lake in the province”…so can the owner be located? Did or does the owner know of anyone who may hold a grudge against him?

    The more question you can muster up, the better your chances of solving the equation. Eliminating the possibilities one by one, in a manner of speaking going backwards in time, should solve the mystery and “eliminate” any wrongful accusations or misconceptions.

    Remember what I referred to in another blog….”One’s ability to cipher a problematic code is not in the logistical equation itself, but in one’s own intelligence to perceive the unknown.”

  4. My suspicions are at a peak here. I should add another very important question that has just come to mind.

    Why did this unknown constituent call his ward 5 Councillor Robert Kirwan instead of informing the local Police or Fire Department?….or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Fisheries?

    That in my opinion, seems to be an obtuse way of reporting such a serious incident.

  5. Now that we know the likelihood of Arson is about 95%, that leaves us with a possible three suspects as I have noted. The owner, persons or persons unknown and the (supposedly) Ward 5 constituent that called in the tip.

    The question that everyone seems to have overlooked is, why has the owner of the fishing hut not complained (Hey! somebody burned down my hut!), called the authorities or at least come forward to give his version of events? Could this anonymous caller be the owner? He should know by now his hut has been torched. Why is he not complaining? Something smells real fishy!

    My estimation would be to backtrack through the fishing hut registration files for that specific lake, asking each owner to show proof of registration and evidence of their hut’s location. Yeah I know, if the owner is the true perpetrator he could lie but a stern explanation could shake things up.

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