Fires becoming a concern

A Kelowna resident is concerned with the number of fires she's seeing burning along the Okanagan Rail Trail at the base of Dilworth Mountain.

Since September, Kayla Taylor says she has reported three such fires to the Kelowna Fire Department.

The latest fire was Thursday morning. That came on the heels of a fire in a similar location this past Sunday.

Taylor and her husband walk a portion of the rail trail from the Apple Bowl past Hardy Street and back almost every morning.

On consecutive days in September, she says they reported fires in a gully below the Kelowna cemetery, near the Hardy Street bus yard.

"We saw the firefighters on our way back, and asked them if they found it," said Taylor. "They said yes, it was unattended – again!"

She said firefighters told her the fire had started creeping up the hill.

Taylor says she hadn't seen, or heard of any fires in the area until a story on Castanet reported on a fire Sunday morning.

She said her husband called in another fire Thursday morning.

The area along the creek near the trail is notorious for homeless camps, especially in spring and summer.

"Once you get on to the cemetery side of the trail, all along the hillside, there are remnants of old camps. Under the bridge there is all kinds of debris," says Taylor.

"Along the creek there has been actual campsites. They have cleared out now."

She adds there's a whole community in the area around the old grist mill that has also cleared out, but says a couple are still living there.

Taylor is concerned these fires could cause more damage if they continue.

Following Sunday's fire, Platoon Capt. Kelly Stephens said this seems to be a problem that is happening more and more.

“These shelters, you never know what you are getting into – could be propane, gas leaks,” he said.

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