A fire that started in the location of a homeless camp at Williams Lake’s River Valley was quickly extinguished Sunday by the Williams Lake Fire Department.
“At approximately 2 pm we had a call for a wildland fire down in the River Valley Trail,” said Fire Chief Erick Peterson.
“We arrived quickly on the scene and were able to knock it down and get it completely extinguished within about half an hour.”
Peterson added that the fire could have been a lot more serious in a month’s time when things start drying out much further.
“We’re quite lucky this isn’t a month from now when things could be much drier,” he said.
“We’ve had a wet summer so far which has been great so we were able to knock down the fire quite quickly.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
“It is in the location of a camp that we have been made aware of that we were working to get cleaned up,” Peterson said.
“We’ve had calls down to the River Valley trail for other people having fires in the area which they’re not allowed to be doing but not at this actual location.”
Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Williams Lake, Milo MacDonald said at a recent Partners in Community Collaboration meeting it was estimated that there may be more than 100 persons without access to acceptable shelter in Williams Lake.
“This has translated into an unsafe situation in the River Valley Trail area, where homeless persons are camping and lighting fires primarily for cooking and warmth,” he wrote in a report to Council on cabinet minister meeting requests for the upcoming 2019 UBCM Convention.
“As the summer season develops, this is likely to contribute to an extreme fire hazard. There is an opportunity to connect with BC Housing to ensure that any funds that might support housing in this community are accessed to put a solution in place.”
– with files from Rebecca Dyok, My Cariboo Now