Nearly $500K donated to support community of Lytton, B.C., after devastating fire

The devastating fire that tore through Lytton, B.C., this week has left a lot of families in need of immediate help.

The entire village was ordered to evacuate on Wednesday night as a fast-moving fire overtook the community, leaving residents little time to grab personal belongings and cherished mementos.

They are now displaced, scattered around evacuation centres across the region or staying with family and friends. The fire burned through most of the town, destroying many homes and businesses.

But the outpouring of support has been nothing short of remarkable. Nearly $500,000 had already been raised online by Friday afternoon. GoFundMe has even created a page dedicated to fundraisers verified by the online platform.

"To see the town levelled, it's hard to watch," said Ronnie Dean Harris, one of the co-ordinators of a fundraiser set up by Savage Society and 2 Rivers Remix Society.

Supplies were also being collected Friday at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster. Throughout the day, community members were dropping off items like food, water, clothes and other supplies. Funds will be distributed by Savage Society, a not-for-profit with a majority Nlaka'pamux board of directors together with community members.

"Almost everybody I know up there lost their homes," said Harris. "It’s heartbreaking, I'm worried about the people, worried about the kids and worried about the elders. My heart's heavy and I don't know if this is going to make a dent, but we're going to do it."

Another fundraising effort is underway for members of the Lytton Rattlers, a Wildland Firefighting Unit Crew. They were on the ground in the community when the fire flared up and are still working to fight the flames.

"Basically, they were out there fighting the fire trying to get the town evacuated and where they were staying, all their person possessions are gone, they were just completely lost in the fire," says Terry Chui, fundraiser organizer.