Update: 2:30 p.m.
The wildfire at Nohomin Creek just 1.7 kilometres northwest of Lytton has grown to an estimated 1,500 hectares in size as of Friday (July 15) afternoon.
At this time, the out-of-control fire is moving away from the Village of Lytton and Lytton First Nation. The fire has been burning on the west side of the Fraser River.
Six helicopters, three tankers and a Birddog plane are on site supporting 80 personnel on the ground.
“Our crews are experts in fighting wildfires that are fast burning and aggressive,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C. minister of forests.
In the past two days, 18 active wildfires have burned in B.C. Nohomin Creek is the only wildfire of note burning in the province right now.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said there have been reports of structures lost to the fire, but there are no reported injuries. Approximately six structures have been lost to the fire.
Reception centres have been set up in Cache Creek and Lillooet to support evacuees impacted by the fire. There are approximately 40 evacuees registered in Cache Creek and 70 in Lillooet.
Update: 12 p.m.
The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) now has three 21-person unit crews, and three initial attack crews on site. They are supported by six, helicopters, three air tankers, and a spotter aircraft. Other operational and support personnel are on-site, bringing the total number of personnel 80. Premier John Horgan has sent out his thoughts on the current Lytton fire on Twitter.
“It’s unimaginable to face a second wildfire a year after the devastation they faced,” said Horgan.
“Thank you to the crews working to keep people safe.”
One local resident is also speaking up about the memories flooding back of the June 2021 razing of Lytton.
Tricia Thorpe told The Canadian Press in an interview that the current situation is “devastating.”
I feel for the local fire crew…they are a great, caring group of men and women and for them to have to experience this at home, again, has got to be gut wrenching.”
– With files from Canadian Press
Update: 11 a.m.
The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) reports that the Nohomin Creek fire near Lytton has grown to 800 hectares as result of growth on the west flank, in steep terrain.
Heavy smoke, accessibility, and terrain are presenting challenges for personnel. The fire is displaying rank three and rank four fire behaviour. A rank three fire is a moderately vigorous surface fire. A rank four fire is a highly vigorous surface fire with torching or passive crown fire.
The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) moved three 20-person unit crews to the Nohomin Creek area, about two-kilometres northwest of the community this morning (July 15). They will be supported by helicopters throughout the day. Two initial attack crews remained on site overnight. Ground crews reported wildfire behaviour decreased overnight, and the most active part of the fire was the west flank in steep terrain. An incident command team will be established in the next few days. RCMP is also on site. At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown and it is under investigation. Fire origin and cause specialists are also being sent to the area.
Evacuation orders were issued by Lytton First Nation (LFN) for several reserves the evening of July 14:
- Nohomeen IR 23
- Papyum IRs 27, 27A
- Lytton IR 278
- Papyum Graveyard 27C
- Stryen IR 9 (West of Stein River)
Residents from those areas have been told to go to a reception centre in Lillooet. The Thompson Nicola Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (TNRDEOC) has issued an evacuation order for Electoral Area “I” (Blue Sky Country), northwest of Lytton, west of the Fraser River, north of IR 27, and south of IR 9B along Spencer Road as outlined on the attached map. Residents in those areas have also been told to make their way to Lillooet.
The TNRDEOC has issued an evacuation alert for 31-properties north of Lytton along Highway 12, the west side of the Fraser River and north of Stein River to the Squamish Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) border as outlined on the attached map.
There are reports of buildings being lost in the fire, however, that has not been confirmed by BCWS, TNRDEOC, or LFN. Wildfire crews were challenged by gusting winds and poor accessibility while on scene July 14. Environment Canada has issued an air quality statement in the Lytton area for July 15, with the forecast calling for sun and cloud, a high of 30 C, and winds gusting up to 50 km/h.
There are no impacts to Highway 1 or Highway 12 in the Lytton area, however, the Lytton Ferry is closed in both directions according to DriveBC. More information on evacuation orders, alerts and emergency services can be found on websites of the TNRDEOC, LFN, and EmergencyInfoBC.
There are currently 19 active wildfires in B.C. with most of them in the northwest part of the province.