Zintel Canyon fires are human-caused, KPD says - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Zintel Canyon fires are human-caused, KPD says

Posted: Updated:

9-13-18 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - It's been a summer of fires in Kennewick's Zintel Canyon, and now residents are wondering what's starting them.

A couple of the fires near the canyon have threatened homes. One even closed down the Spirit of America Trail for a couple days.

Sergeant Aaron Clem with KPD says it could be a number of things that's causing them, but fire investigators say what they do know is that they are not caused naturally.

"We have had four or five fires recently," said Sgt. Clem. "The fire department has said they are caused by humans."

A common thread between each fire is that they are right next to the Spirit of America Trail, which is frequented by trail walkers and by homeless people.

Sgt. Clem says they could be caused by a homeless person starting a fire to cook, or even someone throwing out their cigarette. Because of this, officers are working to monitor any suspicious activity along the trail day and night.

"Our daytime and nighttime patrol are down in the Zintel Canyon and the Spirit of America Trail," explained Sgt. Clem. "If we find a homeless or a transient person, then we mark it, make contact with them and we move them along their way."

If you are going to frequent the Spirit of America Trail, there are some safety measures that you can take.

"We want people to continue using the trail. It's here for them to use. We just want them to be cautious of what they are using it for," said Sgt. Clem.

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9-12-18 ORIGINAL STORY:

KENNEWICK: Another fire started in Kennewick's Zintel Canyon today, raising concerns for nearby residents.

Around noon neighbors noticed the trees on fire behind their homes- off of South Yelm Street and Anderson Street, so they immediately called.

This is just the latest of several fires in that area this summer, some labeled as suspicious.

Fortunately, no homes were in danger today and firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the Zintel Canyon area.

When we talked with the Kennewick Batallion Chief about the cause of previous fires in this area, he said investigators still don't have answers, and his main focus right now is today's fire.

"That's still under investigation [talking about former fires] That's something I cannot comment on at this time," said Kennewick Batallion Chief Kevin Crowley.

A couple neighbors we talked with today say they have seen quite a few homeless people camping out in that area, but it's unknown if the two are connected at this time.

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