Homeless camp beside freeway causes controversy after going up in flames

Homeless encampment catches fire in...

SUMMERLAND, Calif. - A homeless camp right off U.S. Highway 101 near Summerland is causing major controversy after it caught on fire Monday. 

Authorities said a man at the camp was cooking in an open flame.        

This is not a new issue for one local organization. 

Heal the Ocean Executive Director, Hillary Hauser has been working to clear the encampment since June.

This is mainly to protect unsanitary items from the camp from contaminating the water below.

Now that a fire damaged the property, Hauser says it must be cleaned up immediately by the responsible party.

“I’m empathetic to the homeless. They need to be somewhere where they have sanitary facilities, where they have food and shelter, but not on the cliff,” said Hauser.

According to the county assessor, the land is owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

NewsChannel 3 reporter Alex Biston reached out to Union Pacific who said they are looking into the issue.

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