An entrance to Spion Kop in Lake Country. Image Credit: Riley Hastings

Fire hazard warning ignored

Spion Kop road barricade repeatedly run over

A Lake Country resident was met with profanity when he tried to to alert “some young folks” not to enter a barricaded road into the Spion Kop trail system.

Riley Hastings, who lives in the Nighthawk Road area where the Okanagan Centre fire was ignited last weekend, only wanted to spread the word about some bush areas being closed to the public due to the extreme fire hazard.

“I…had a run-in with some young folks 4X4ing in the Spion Kop area and was met with profanity as they pretended not to know the area has been closed down,” Hastings said in a notice he sent out to local media.

One entry point barricade put in place to keep people out has been run over repeatedly, something Hastings took the time to document himself.

“We don’t need another fire in Lake Country,” he said.

Lake Country Fire Chief Steve Windsor said he has spoken to Hastings and others voicing concern about public access to park and wildlife areas.

Windsor said the trail system that makes up Spion Park falls both on private property and Crown land under provincial jurisdiction.

“I know the property owner generally doesn’t like people accessing trails off his property anyway, but we have talked to the province about restricting access to the Crown land portion and they are contemplating our request at this point,” Windsor said.

Windsor said restricted access would be focused not on hikers, but on motorized vehicles using the trails because of the potential for starting a grassfire if a a dirt bike or ATV crashes.

“We aren’t looking to restrict hikers access because those are pretty serious hiking trails and people who access them generally know what they are doing and we trust they will be aware of the forest fire hazard,” Windsor said.

For the interim, Windsor said the District of Lake Country plans to post information signs warning people about the fire hazard at entrances to the Crown land trail access points.

“If the province wants to close off access, they have the ability to enforce it. We are stretched pretty thin dealing with (the Okanagan Centre fire) and assisting other fire departments across the province and the forest service is extended to the max right now as well,” Windsor said.