RCMP to provide update on investigation into Lytton wildfire in coming days

RCMP have set up three security checkpoints around Lytton, B.C., and say there will be an update soon on the investigation into the cause of the fast-moving wildfire that destroyed most of the village.

Supt. Ray Carfantan said that in addition to the checkpoints, roving patrols are ensuring crews can gain access to restore services in Lytton, including hydro and phone lines, while people who are not required to be there are kept out.

Carfantan told a news conference Sunday that 911 service is now available and the former non-emergency number for the RCMP has been rerouted to Lillooet, about 60 kilometres northwest of the community.

He said police have followed up on more than 15 missing-person reports since the fire on June 30 killed two people, but everyone from in and around the town in the Fraser Canyon has been located and is safe.

“We are aware of the possibility that there could be someone still left unaccounted for, and therefore if you have not been able to find a loved one please call or attend your local or nearest RCMP detachment to report that person as missing.”

Damaged structures are seen in Lytton on Friday, July 9, 2021, after a wildfire destroyed most of the village on June 30. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Carfantan said police and multiple agencies including B.C.’s wildfire service, Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are gathering information and evidence to try to determine the cause of the fire.

“We are committed to providing a more full update about the investigation in the next day or two,” he said.

Hot, dry conditions are persisting in parts of southern British Columbia while cooler temperatures are helping crews suppress wildfires in the north.

Fire information officer Taylor Colman with the wildfire service said 67 fires were classified as out of control on Sunday, but crews had not yet been able to evaluate the newest ones.

Colman said 306 fires were burning across B.C., most of them in the Kamloops and Cariboo fire centres.

The federal and provincial governments said Sunday they will match every dollar donated to the Canadian Red Cross for people affected by the wildfires, which they said means a $1 donation will become a $3 donation. The matching donations will be retroactive to include those received since July 3, when the Red Cross BC Wildfire Appeal fund began.

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