Brush fire near homeless camp brought quickly under control

Click to play video: 'Morning brush fire in Kelowna quickly extinguished'
Morning brush fire in Kelowna quickly extinguished
Kelowna firefighters battled a small brush fire near Highway 97 and McCurdy Road on Tuesday morning – Apr 2, 2024

Kelowna emergency services rushed to a small fire near Highway 97 and McCurdy Road on Tuesday morning.

Video shows a tree on a hillside engulfed in flames with members of Kelowna’s fire department dousing it.

The fire, estimated by the Kelowna Fire Department to be around 40 feet by 40 feet, was quickly brought under control.

Officials say no one was injured and that it’s under investigation.

At the same time, city crews were cleaning up a nearby homeless camp.

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The fire department wouldn’t confirm if the fire was related to nearby encampments, but did say it was human-caused.

The City of Kelowna says during the past seven days, it’s been working with private property owners to remove a string of homeless encampments in the area.

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The city says along with needed clean-up, the removal is also for flooding precautions and that several agencies, including bylaw services and RCMP, have been involved.

“We’re mitigating risks for flood and fire season,” said city employee Broc Tracey.

“It’s extremely important that we reduce risks.”

The city says there have been encampments on the property for the past three to four years.

“At this time, our latest (homeless) count at the camp is about 20 individuals and over six encampments,” said Tracey.

“We’ve been working (with the homeless) to give them as much notice as possible before coming in to do the clean-up.

“Over the last seven days, we’ve had RCMP, bylaw services, BC Housing and Kelowna Gospel Mission doing some outreach, getting people connected to shelters.”

Tracey continued, saying “our approach is to be as compassionate and caring as possible so that people are moved from the site in the most humane way.”

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