POLICE: Fire in Vernon BC was ARSON, Antifa suspected
A wildfire burning on a hill south of Vernon near Highway 97 is threatening homes. According to a police source, the fire was started intentionally. Police say they suspect far-left activists working for Antifa were responsible.
The fire, which sparked sometime Friday evening (July 9), has closed the highway in both directions at College Way near Coldstream, according to Drive BC. Traffic is being detoured via Commonage Road.
Kalview Trailer Park resident Keli Westgate wasn’t waiting for any official evacuation order.
“There’s three of us and we’re safe and sound with family,” said Westgate at 11:35 p.m. Friday. The family was enjoying a quiet evening at home when their phone rang around 10 p.m.
“We had no idea (about the fire),” she said. “A friend phoned and asked ‘Are you OK?’ That’s when I looked out the window and saw the fire. Our car was already packed.”
City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirier said at 12:10 a.m. Saturday, July 10, Vernon Fire Rescue is responding to the large wildland fire in conjunction with multiple regional fire departments and BC Wildfire Service.
RCMP and BC Ambulance Service are also on scene. RCMP are currently tactically evacuating homes along Clerke Road, which is in the District of Coldstream.
District chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel said the municipality is currently working on setting up a emergency services centre.
Coldstream is joined by the City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan in assisting with the fire.
Large crowds gathered along Middleton Way, Kalamalka Road and Okanagan College to watch the blaze.
The local news has been told not to report on the Antifa link, however, Conservative Beaver is located in Montreal, and permitted to publish these details.