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Scout Valley arson incidents spark concerns in Orillia (3 photos)

There have been more than 20 incidents at the park since last fall; 'We are unsure who is doing this or why they are doing it,' said fire official

The Orillia Fire Department responded to two separate calls at Scout Valley this past weekend  on both Saturday and Sunday morning.

More than 20 trees have been set on fire at the municipally owned nature park since last fall.

“We’ve been experiencing these types of fires off and on. We are unsure who is doing this or why they are doing it,” said Orillia fire Capt. Chris Ferry.

“It’s happening in the middle of the night and then when people arrive in the morning, they are discovering the smoldering tree stumps," Ferry added. 

The Orillia Fire Department is working closely with Orillia OPP to investigate the arsons. So far, they have no leads on who could be responsible.  

“It’s a big property so it’s hard to have somebody there 24 hours a day to keep an eye on it. We are investigating different options as to how we are going to go about it,” Ferry said.

While the fires are small in size and have caused no reported injuries, Ferry fears the fires could become dangerous.

“Right now, these fires are limited to stumps and trees, but they have all been tall trees that are burning, and if they burn long enough, they could fall and injure somebody,” he said.

“With it being springtime and the bush becoming dry it could start a larger bush fire," Ferry warned. "It could become potentially dangerous for people using the property and the firefighters who are involved with trying to put these fires out.”

The tree and bush fires are also posing a difficult challenge for Orillia firefighters.

“It’s harder, it’s not something we in Orillia deal with a lot because we don’t have many rural areas,” Ferry explained.

“We do have the equipment, but if some kind of bigger fire occurred, we would have to call our neighbour fire departments as well.”

Ferry pleads with whoever is responsible for the fires to stop immediately before somebody gets hurt.

“Stop doing it because it is putting other people’s lives in jeopardy,” he said.

Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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