Recently, wildfire was discovered up near the Hessie trailhead (on the island between the beaver ponds and the creek), that had been smoldering possibly “for weeks” under the snow until it got intense enough for enough smoke to break out for someone to notice.
According to officials, it appeared to have been caused by a campfire which was attempted to extinguish by burying with snow. It smoldered under the snow and spread to the surrounding pine duff (which normally should have been cleared away before starting a campfire), and continued to spread under the snow.
According to the USFS, it’s not all that uncommon, and they’ve known of such fires covering hundreds of acres. There are a number of conditions that have to come together for this type of fire to occur, including a long spell of no new snow and dry air, along with fairly steady wind, so the melting snow actually evaporates without dousing the fire.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened in our area. In 2018 there was another incident of this reported by our local newspaper. https://themtnear.com/2018/04/winter-wildfires-smolder-in-duff/
Even though it is winter and we have snow pack on the ground, please remain aware that these “zombie fires” are possible.