My typical articles for the Ashcroft Journal had a humorous bent.
Not this one.
I moved from Lytton in December 2020. However, I have stayed in touch with many people, and many more have been in my thoughts. I am still a proud director of Lytton Legion Branch #162.
I was just finishing a night shift at 7 a.m. on July 1 when I learned about the Lytton fire. The colleague who told me did not know the impact it would have on me (he would later apologize). Moments later, a friend from the Lytton detachment called me. She was crying, and it was not long before she had company.
I was stunned. Our call was interrupted by my regional manager calling to ask if I was available to go to Lytton and help out. I told him “You couldn’t keep me away.” I caught the 10:15 ferry and I sat in my police car texting, emailing, and calling. After a quick stop to get some laundry done, I was in Lytton.
I know I only lived in your town for three years, but it was my home too. I had the unenviable privilege of driving through town. It was awful. Worse than I had imagined. There was no cell service. I could not call the owner of this house or that business and confirm that they were safe. There was still an ambient heat from the fire, smoke from fallen trees, and the ever-present afternoon wind that was blowing ash.
I headed on to our Incident Command at Spences Bridge. I had already started what I was asked to do: connecting with our many communities. Over the next three days, we worked with BC Wildfire, Yellowhead Road and Bridge, Lytton First Nation, and many others to locate people, secure animals, strategize for the future, and work to reassure people.
I want you to know that the RCMP members who attended from the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, and elsewhere all felt the loss and expressed their sympathy. The community of Spences Bridge was amazing.
I want to conclude by telling you that when I called my Lytton friends, whether they were in Merritt, Hedley, or Kamloops, they were all optimistic for the future. They acknowledged that they had lost their things and they were grateful to have safely fled the fire. But there was something in what they said that gave me hope for the future of Lytton.
I texted my colleagues from the Lytton detachment, past and present. We are already talking about gathering when the detachment is rebuilt.
My heart is still in Lytton.
Sgt. Curtis Davis was detachment commander for the RCMP in Lytton from 2017 to 2020, and was a regular contributor to the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.