A fire broke out early Monday morning in a Regina encampment, destroying tents and damaging a neighbourhood fence and garden shed.
Regina's fire department received reports at 4:06 a.m. CST Monday about a fire on the 900 block of Angus St. Regina fire marshal Randy Ryba said crews responded in the next six minutes and were able to douse the fire.
Ryba said the fire started on a vacant property with a tent encampment and spread to the neighbourhood.
"Camping was heavily clouded with combustible material everywhere, from clothing to furniture," he said. "It was a very large fire for a short time."
The department didn't report any injuries, but Ryba said the fire caused some damage to the neighbour's fence and garden shed. He also added the fire appeared to be unintentionally caused by someone lighting a match inside a tent.
Ryba said the fire department prepares for encampment fires all year, but more so in the fall months when temperatures start to drop.
The department is not allowing any open burning with illegal fire pits on these properties. If the department is made aware of such fires, Ryba says, they are sympathetic to the living conditions and try to have conversations with the people there.
Ryba said the city has seen three major encampment fires so far this year. The other two were at the city hall encampment, one of them last month.
Since being established on June 15, the encampment outside city hall peaked at 83 tents on July 25, according to a report that was headed to city council. The number of residents at the camp fluctuates daily and hourly.
The aftermath of the encampment fire at the 900 block of Angus Street early Monday morning. (Regina Fire/X)
In December last year, a fire at an encampment on Halifax Street destroyed multiple empty tents and a garage.
The fire department recommends people looking to have fires use open flame devices such as a fire pit and away from combustible material and trees. Ryba said he realizes it's a tough ask for some.
"We certainly have empathy for people that are trying to stay warm, but they need to do it safely. That's why we engage any encampment that we see and try to have a conversation with people on the best way to keep themselves fire-safe," he said.