An old burn pile was reignited near the Westwold landfill and discovered May 1, 2022. (Patrick Green photo)

An old burn pile was reignited near the Westwold landfill and discovered May 1, 2022. (Patrick Green photo)

Arson suspected in 2 North Okanagan wildfires

Suspicious circumstances surround the two small fires that sparked on Monday

Vernon police are investigating two wildfires in the Westwold area that may have been ignited by arsonists Monday, May 2.

Shortly after 2:30 p.m., the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP received a report that an unknown person was lighting slash piles on fire in the area, one on Douglas Lake Road and another on Westwold Station Forest Service Road.

BC Wildfire Service sent out personnel who quickly contained both fires before they could spread.

Police also received unconfirmed reports that a small blue pickup truck driven by a woman was seen leaving the scene of both burns. The truck was not found despite the search efforts of multiple officers and an RCMP Air Services helicopter.

No further information on the vehicle or suspect has been uncovered, police said Tuesday morning.

“We’re incredibly concerned that someone would be intentionally starting these fires,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “After the destruction and devastation caused by wildfires last year, we appreciate and understand how terribly unsettling this is for residents. We’re actively investigating the incidents and are appealing to the public for any information that may help us in furthering this investigation.”

Anyone who was in the area and witnessed suspicious activity, or has information related to the fires or the small blue pickup, is asked to contact the Enderby office of the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and quote police file NR2022-2366. Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to police.

To report a wildfire, dial *5555 or 1-800-663-5555.

READ MORE: Two fires sparked near Westwold

READ MORE: Clearwater to lose permanent initial attack wildfire teams


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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