Lytton fire: 90 per cent of B.C. village has burned in devastating blaze, local MP says

A fire tore through Lytton, B.C, on June 30, 2021, forcing an evacuation of the entire town. (2 Rivers Remix Society/Facebook)

Ely Makeiv arrived at the Merritt, B.C., evacuation centre without a shirt on his back.

“It happened so fast. I didn’t have enough time to get my dogs and get out, I didn’t even have a chance of putting my shirt on,” he told CTV News Wednesday night.
The fire started in the late afternoon and by 6 p.m., the mayor had issued an evacuation order for the entire town of Lytton.

“We only had 20 minutes,” said Sherry Drynock. “So we packed up our RV and whatever we could.”

RCMP officers were going door to door telling people it was time to leave.

“I didn’t really have clothes or anything, so I kind of bought some clothes,” said Drynock. “Whatever we could grab, blankets, we didn’t really grab food or anything like that.”

Ninety per cent the small B.C. village has burned in a devastating fire, the town's local member of Parliament says. 

Brad Vis, who represents Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, says the fire that tore through Lytton and forced the entire community to evacuate Wednesday has led to significant structural damage including in the town's centre.

The MP posted an update to Facebook Wednesday, saying he would not be participating in any Canada Day festivities and instead will be devoting his time to the emergency in the Fraser Canyon.

"Neighbouring Telus and BC Hydro stations have suffered extensive damage," Vis wrote.

"In addition, rail and highway infrastructure are affected. There is no access to Highway 1 north of Lytton, and Highway 12 is also compromised. Detours are available via Highway 8 and Highway 5. There are reports of several injuries. The situation is ongoing."

“We heard that we lost our hospital again, plus the ambulance, and it sounds like the whole town’s burning,” said Terry Wagner, an evacuee, late Wednesday.

Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered an evacuation for the entire village of about 250 people at around 6 p.m. Wednesday. Evacuees were asked to register at the Emergency Social Services building in Merritt, and told they will be provided three days' worth of supports if needed. 

“It would be a miracle if everyone got out,” Polderman told CTV News over the phone.

Ken Aljam just had time to grab two laundry baskets with stuff for him and his wife. They managed to get their dogs, but had to abandon their outdoor cats.

“There were ashes raining down so it didn’t look very good for anything,” said Aljam. “If it was hell I guess that’s what it looks like.” 

Lytton made headlines this week after breaking the record for highest temperature recorded in Canada three days in a row. The record now stands at 49.6 C, beating the all-time heat record for Las Vegas. 

Polderman told CTV News he's believes there's a chance part of the community will be left standing after the fire is extinguished, but that he wouldn't be surprised if the flames eviscerated the entire village.

-With files from CTV News -