A growing number of homeless camps in the Vernon area are causing concern. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star file)

A growing number of homeless camps in the Vernon area are causing concern. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star file)

Second homeless camp fire sparked in North Okanagan

Growing encampment near Swan Lake a concern

A second Vernon homeless camp went up in flames Tuesday evening.

BX-Swan Lake crews were again called out to the shores of the lake to extinguish a blaze around 7:30 p.m. May 12. This is the second fire in three weeks at the new encampment area, which is not visible from Highway 97, but hidden between Swan Lake and the railroad tracks near the weigh scales.

“It was pretty well about 100 feet north of where the other one was,” said Fire Chief Bill Wacey.

READ MORE: Vernon homeless camp destroyed by fire

Crews were able to extinguish the blaze, which was a tent of some sort.

“There’s not much left of it,” said Wacey, who was told one person was seen running away.

“It was kind of a suspicious fire but no one would fess up to anything.”

He suspects that those living in the area had a dispute.

“Usually what happens is they are scrapping amongst themselves. Someone takes the best camping spot and someone burns them out.”

The encampment is new to the area and growing.

“There’s a large colony all the way out by the lake now,” said Wacey, estimating eight to 12 people living in the area. “I’ve seen four or five different camps around there but they come and go also.”

The land is part of the protected Swan Lake wildlife reserve but is a relatively new spot for those without a fixed address.

“It’s expanded because it wasn’t like that a few weeks ago,” said Wacey.

Firefighters were also cautious attending the scene, not knowing what kind of items were in the area and could potentially explode.

“There’s a lot of stuff. It’s become the new collection spot I think,” said Wacey, noting several shopping carts are usually parked next to the highway near the trail entrance.

Wacey has also had some complaints from Larkspur Road residents about a camp in the nearby dog park.

“There’s another one in BX Park up in the trees,” he said, adding that although some efforts were made to remove it at the end of April, it is still there.

READ MORE: Camp booted from BX Dog Park in Vernon

READ MORE: COVID-19: Vernon emergency shelter first to add sleeping pods


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

fireHomeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read