Lytton bus tour planned Friday for wildfire evacuees

Fire crews in Lytton are making progress on fighting the wildfire that destroyed much of the town last Wednesday. Kier Junos reports on what’s next for evacuees, as officials fly over the burned town.

LYTTON (NEWS 1130) – People forced out of Lytton by last week’s deadly and destructive wildfire will soon be able to get a first-hand look at what’s left of their village.

Plans are in the works for a bus tour for evacuees, many of whom left the area with just the clothes on their back. The tour has been arranged for Friday, July 9.

“While the area is still not safe for unescorted entry, work has been done to clear a way to permit taking residents through the area by bus. This tour is being coordinated in conjunction with Lytton First Nation to ensure that impacted residents have an opportunity to view the area,” a statement from Thompson-Nicola Regional District reads.

“Given that residents have evacuated into various locations in the Province, arrangements are being made for various pick-up points. At this time, pick-up locations being considered are Whistler, Chilliwack, Merritt and Kamloops.”

Related video: Lytton wildfire grows to 7,600 hectares


The fire, which killed at least two people, wiped out 90 per cent of the village, including most homes, the RCMP detachment, the local ambulance station, and the Lytton Chinese History Museum, which housed countless artifacts.

90 per cent of the village of Lytton was destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire. The community was evacuated on June 30. (Submitted)

Henry Yu, a UBC history professor, says many of the precious items were tied to thousands of Chinese miners, railway workers, merchants, and farmers.

“Chinese had a long history up and down the Fraser — from the Gold Rush onwards through railroad building and Lytton was one of those key sites of that long, continuous history of Chinese in British Columbia,” he said.

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On Monday, the BC Wildfire Service said the Lytton Creek Wildfire was suspected to be human-caused. However, exactly how it was sparked remains unclear.

“That can be a number of reasons other than lightning basically,” fire information officer Forrest Tower said, adding the complexity of the fire likely means the investigation will take awhile.

There has been speculation that the fire was caused by a passing train, but nothing has been confirmed.

There are more than 200 wildfires burning in B.C., with 70 per cent believed to have been started by lightning. Five of the most significant ones are burning in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

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