Lytton, BC nearly destroyed by wildfire, some residents still unaccounted for

The village of Lytton, located around 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been largely leveled by major wildfires ravaging the region.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The village of Lytton, located around 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been largely leveled by major wildfires ravaging the region.

One of these wildfires spanned nearly 90 square kilometres, according to the province’s public safety minister Mike Farnworth. He added that multiple residents on the town of around 1,000 were unaccounted for.

"These fires have already required a number of evacuations by BC RCMP officers and our partners including in the Village of Lytton which has suffered significant damage to the community and its infrastructure," wrote Dwayne McDonald, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP. "Lytton RCMP, with the support of neighbour detachments, and other emergency response partners were fully involved in the evacuation efforts."

"The situation is being continually assessed and when safe to do so we will be entering the area to conduct a formal search, specifically for any injured or missing people. We have not been able to confirm any fatalities at this time," McDonald continued.

Lytton recorded three historically high temperatures three days in a row, measuring 46.1 degrees on Sunday, 47.8 degrees on Monday and 49.5 degrees on Tuesday.

"Three consecutive days of the highest recorded temperature in Canadian history all happened in Lytton this week," British Columbia Premier John Horgan said in a television appearance. "To have a heat wave and a horrific fire is so troubling and so challenging for the people of this community."

Jennifer Thoss, who has elderly tenants in Lytton, is searching desperately to find them. She told CP24 that she had been on the phone at around 5:25 pm on Wednesday with Henry and Donna Robinson as police officers went door to door ordering residents to flee.

That home is now gone.

"They don't have family and are completely on their own," she said of the Robinsons, who are in their late 70s and early 80s. He has been unable to determine if the RCMP was able to evacuate them, checking nearby hospitals and evacuation shelters.

Farnworth said that of those that fled the village to safety, most will return to very little of what they left behind.

"Most homes and structures in the village, as well as the ambulance station and the RCMP detachment, have been lost," Farnworth said at an afternoon news conference. "I also understand that some residents have not been accounted for and their location is currently being investigated by the RCMP."

Member of the Lytton First Nation Rosalin Miles has started a GoFundMe campaign to help community members affected by the wildfires.

"There are going to be people who are going to fall through the cracks who might not be able to rebuild, who might not have insurance," Miles said, adding the money will be necessary for the many local residents living in poverty before the blaze, according to CP24.


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