North Okanagan RCMP launch arson probe into suspicious wildfires | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan RCMP launch arson probe into suspicious wildfires


Two new wildfires near Westwold could have been set intentionally and police are now investigating.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for a small blue pickup truck that was leaving the scene where two slash piles were lit.

"We’re incredibly concerned that someone would be intentionally starting these fires," Vernon RCMP spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski said in a news release.

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The Westwold area was ground zero for one of B.C.'s largest wildfires last year. The White Rock Lake wildfire burned for weeks over thousands of hectares from Monte Lake to the west side of Okanagan Lake.

"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," Terleski said.

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Both fires near Westwold were found yesterday, May 2, on the Douglas Lake and Westwold Station forest service roads, respectively. Police say the truck was being driven by a woman, but had no more potentially identifying information.

Police sent several officers and a helicopter to the area, but didn't find a suspect.

The B.C. Wildfire Service currently estimates each of the fires to be under one hectare in size and were quickly contained yesterday, according to Vernon RCMP.

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Pritchard Volunteer Fire Department chief Marc Coray posted on social media yesterday that firefighters responded to seven small fires along Duck Range Road.

According to Coray, the fires were reported to be intentionally set, but no one was found at the scene.

B.C. Wildfire Service investigators have not responded to requests for more information on the potential arson investigations.

If you were in the area and witnessed anything suspicious, or have information related to the fires or the suspect vehicle, small blue pickup truck, contact the Enderby office of the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP and quote police file NR2022-2366.

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

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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