‘It’s not the first and it won’t be the last’: Firefighters extinguish Kelowna Rail Trail blaze

Fire crews again responded to an abandoned campfire off the Rail Trail on Thursday afternoon.

The fire was spotted at the bottom of Dilworth Mountain around 12:30 p.m.

Firefighters and RCMP attended to the blaze which grew two feet by two feet.

“It’s not the first and it won’t be the last,” said a firefighter at the scene.

Campfires on and near the Rail Trail are becoming more frequent as winter progresses, due to the lack of shelter from the cold.

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Kelowna opened a temporary shelter for four days during the first week of November, however, due to limited staffing capacity and other ongoing programs, it is limiting its capacity extend the temporary solution.

Claims Services Director Kevin Mead told Capital News in October that the number of homeless people in Kelowna had tripled since last year and that additional resources were needed.

Mead said he’s seen a “dramatic increase” in the number of homeless homeless people in the city, for reasons “outside the municipality’s control.”

To help homeless people, a new shelter has been opened on Bay Avenue, but due to a lack of staff it can only operate halfway.

This led to homeless people seeking sources of heat through other means, such as campfires along the Rail Trail. Without access to shelter, people living along the Rail Trail camp say many use candles, log fires and propane heaters to keep warm and provide light in and around their tents.

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