THE LATEST: 90% of Lytton destroyed in wildfire, injuries reported

Lytton day two. Chilliwack Fire Department/FacebooiLytton day two. Chilliwack Fire Department/Facebooi
Lytton Hospital amid a fast-moving wildfire that sparked June 30, 2021. (Ken White/Facebook)Lytton Hospital amid a fast-moving wildfire that sparked June 30, 2021. (Ken White/Facebook)

UPDATE 12:41 p.m.

The smoky skies have blanketed Ashcroft due to the Lytton wildfire and the blaze in Kamloops.

TELUS says it is working to restore communication in Lytton after extensive fire damage to its lines.

FROM THE SKY: Pyrocumulonimbus plumes – aka extreme stormy clouds – forming over B.C. wildfires

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

Fraser-​Nicola Jackie Tegart says next steps today are ensuring everyone was able to get out of Lytton safely, although this will prove difficult due to how quickly residents had to flee in various directions.

Read more on those efforts here.

An update from Premier John Horgan, wildfire officials and Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is expected at 1 p.m.

UPDATE: 9:51 a.m.

MP Brad Vis has confirmed that 90 per cent of Lytton has been destroyed by wildfire, including the centre of town. There have been reported injuries.

Neighbouring Telus and BC Hydro stations have suffered extensive damage. In addition, rail and highway infrastructure are affected.

“I am in communication with the federal Minister of Public Safety and Minister of Indigenous Services who are responding accordingly in conjunction with provincial authorities,” Vis said in a statement.

The surrounding roadways are blocked to traffic: There is no access to Highway 1 north of Lytton, and Highway 12 is also compromised. Detours are available via Highway 8 and Highway 5.

UPDATE 8:28 a.m.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Jean Strong has confirmed that the Lytton wildfire is roughly 8,000 hectares in size.

“Ground crews are at the northwest flank to secure the community and there has been some success from ground crews and helicopters,” Strong told Black Press Media.

However, hot, dry and windy conditions mean the fire is expected to grow further through the day.

Because the fire ignited within the fire protection area of the town, the Lytton Fire Brigade is lead with support of BC Wildfire.

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It was a long night for Lytton residents, who less than 24 hours ago were forced to quickly escape their community due to a fast-moving fire.

The total devastation from the blaze remains unknown, but footage of the destruction shared Wednesday night shows store buildings, the Lytton hospital and vehicles up in flames.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District added more properties to its evacuation orders, now including:

  • Electoral Area ‘I’: 87 properties under evacuation order, a further 27 on alert
  • Entire Village in Lytton

Evacuation centres were set up in Lillooet, Boston Bar, Merritt and Chilliwack with hotels being told to expect an onslaught of families and groups needing shelter.

Just how large the very visible blaze is remains unclear, according to the BC Wildfire Service. Crews are battling 78 wildfires in the province.

British Columbians have been quick to show their support, with dozens offering rooms in their homes and space for RVs through a BC Wildfire and Flood Support Facebook group, which was started during the historic 2017 wildfire season.

Black Press Media has reached out to officials for an update on the fire.

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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B.C. Wildfires 2021bc wildfiresLyttonwildfire