A potentially devastating wildfire near Lytton was narrowly averted over the weekend, thanks to the quick work of first responders and local farmers.
The incident happened after an alleged impaired driver left a hit-and-run collision scene on North Spencer Road on Lytton’s Westside at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1. Witnesses told emergency first responders that the vehicle — an older model Ford F150 pickup truck — collided with a hydro pole, then fled the scene.
The impact toppled the hydro pole, sparking a small wildfire within only a few hundred feet of several houses. Some local farmers who were first at the scene took action and knocked the blaze back, which likely prevented it burning out of control.
The fire was suppressed by BC Wildfire Service ground crews, a helicopter, and the Lytton Volunteer Fire Department, who were quickly on site.
RCMP officers located the suspect vehicle on South Spencer Road, noting that it had front end damage consistent with colliding with a power pole. The driver and his passenger were identified by police, who undertook an impaired driving investigation.
The driver — a Lytton man in his 40s — submitted samples of his breath, both of which resulted in a fail. He was issued a 90-day immediate roadside prohibition from driving, and his vehicle was impounded. He could face further charges for failing to remain at the scene of a crash, and could be held civilly liable for the costs incurred in battling the wildfire.
“Thanks to the collaborative work of all those involved in the suppression efforts, no structures were threatened or destroyed before the fire was put out, and the individual police believe to be responsible for the blaze was located and identified,” says Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesperson for the BC RCMP Southeast District.
Anyone who witnessed the crash and has not yet spoken to police is asked to call the Lytton RCMP at (250) 455-2225.