Footage taken through Lytton shows mass destruction in wake of a quick-moving fire that raced through the central B.C. town Wednesday, amid a provincial heat wave that saw national record-breaking temperatures.
Video posted by 2 Rivers Remix Society shows at least one building and a number of vehicles up in flames.
BC Wildfire Service crews are on scene in Lytton supporting the local fire department in tackling the blaze currently tearing through the village.
The fire is not connected to the previously identified fires near Conte Creek and George Road.
All properties in the village have been evacuated and emergency support services centres are operating in Chilliwack and Merritt.
Mayor Jan Polderman ordered the entire town to be evacuated at about 6:30 p.m.
The fire is a new start, not connected with the 350-hectare George Road fire southeast of the community which was sparked earlier this week.
Polderman says the fire began to the northeast of town and is on both sides of Highway 1, which is closed to all traffic.
RCMP are going door to door to tell residents to leave. Polderman says most of the residents are going south to Boston Bar.
“It went up in less than 10 minutes,” he said of the town. “I saw the fire come up the embankment by the Band office at the north end of town, The fire started so fast there was no time to do anything. A number of places on Main Street are on fire.”
Evacuees from Lytton can go to an Emergency Social Services Centre in Merritt at 1721 Coldwater Avenue, which is open as a reception centre. Any Lytton evacuees in Merritt are asked to register at the centre, where lodging and incidental support for 72 hours is available on request. Resources are also available in Boston Bar.
Other nearby communities are also scrambling to help. The Village of Ashcroft has sent a tanker and firefighters, and an appeal for baby food from one Lytton resident who left with her 10-month-old received an instant response.
“We evacuated Lytton and forgot our baby’s formula,” the woman posted on Facebook. “We are on our way to meet my daughter then will be in Cache Creek within next cpl hours.”
Within minutes there were several replies. “Food bank has tons,” said an Ashcroft resident. “PM me please. We can hook you up.” Residents in Ashcroft and Cache were also offering up homes, spare rooms, and RVs for people needing a place to go.
BC Livestock at the Kamloops Stockyards (10145 Dallas Drive, Kamloops) is able to take livestock. They are mainly set up to take cattle and horses, but can take some larger sheep as well. To make arrangements, contact yard manager Darrell Commazzetto at (250) 319-8587.
On June 29, Lytton recorded a temperature of 49.6 C; the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada. It was the third day in a row that the community broke the record for hottest temperature ever seen in the country.
Warning this video contains strong language that may offend some viewers.