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'Melted, incinerated' infrastructure found as wildfire damage rated in Lytton, B.C.

Last Updated Jul 7, 2021 at 1:08 pm EDT

LYTTON, B.C. — A statement issued on behalf of the wildfire-ravaged Village of Lytton underscores the extreme challenges facing the Fraser Canyon community as its rebuilds.

It says flames tore through “with ferocious speed” last Wednesday, destroying most of Lytton’s buildings and nearly every home in the centre of the village.

Some properties on the eastern side of Highway 1 were spared, but the statement says they have no electricity, sewer or water services and all infrastructure that has not been “melted, incinerated or damaged beyond repair” is too unsafe to use.

Testing and an in-depth assessment will also be needed to determine the state of the community’s watershed and if it has been contaminated by fire retardant.

Power and phone crews are already assessing damage in the village, but the statement says CN Rail and CP Rail “will have no access” to Lytton, except to use rail-based vehicles to handle fire suppression on their respective rights-of-way.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Lytton fire has charred 77 square kilometres of bush and remains out of control, while the number of firefighters assigned to it will grow to 100 as a crew of 40 from New Brunswick joins a team of 60 from B.C. 

Thirteen wildfires that are either highly visible or pose a potential safety threat are burning in B.C. and the wildfire service says it’s handling more than 200 active fires, most of them in the southern Interior.

Of the estimated 17 wildfires sparked overnight, the wildfire service website shows eight were sparked by lightning and the cause of the other nine is unknown.

Lightning remains a threat for a large section of the southern Interior. Environment Canada has lifted all heat warnings in B.C., although air quality advisories linked to wildfire smoke remain posted across much of the Interior.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2021.

The Canadian Press