'Out of control' wildfire grows outside Lytton, B.C.

·2 min read
Smoke from the Nohomin Creek wildfire northwest of Lytton, B.C., is shown on Friday. Firefighters said Sunday that cooler conditions overnight helped them tackle the blaze. (CBC - image credit)
Smoke from the Nohomin Creek wildfire northwest of Lytton, B.C., is shown on Friday. Firefighters said Sunday that cooler conditions overnight helped them tackle the blaze. (CBC - image credit)

A wildfire deemed "out of control" just northwest of Lytton, B.C., has grown since Sunday morning, despite the non-stop efforts of dozens of firefighters and favourable overnight weather.

The Nohomin Creek wildfire, which started Thursday, grew to 17 square kilometres Sunday afternoon — a nearly 14 per cent increase in size — despite being described by officials as "stable" a day earlier.

The blaze has resulted in multiple evacuation orders and burned at least 10 structures, according to Lytton First Nation.

The B.C. Wildfire Service had said conditions were favourable earlier Sunday, as firefighters tackled the large fire 1.7 kilometres outside Lytton, which was all but destroyed last year in a wildfire.

Ninety-five people were receiving evacuation supports as of Saturday.

"Growth has been observed up-slope on the west flank," the service said Sunday afternoon on its website.

A spokesperson for the provincial service said Sunday morning that cooler conditions had helped them overnight. Dozens of firefighters, including some from the Lytton First Nation, are fighting the blaze with the aid of helicopters and air crews.

B.C. Wildfire Service
B.C. Wildfire Service

"We've got the ability to bring in additional resources as we need them," Nicole Bonnett, a fire information officer, said earlier Sunday. "And so we'll be able to ... respond accordingly."

The fire remains "out of control," a designation that means the fire could continue to grow. It is currently burning an area more than four times the size of Vancouver's Stanley Park.

Bonnett said crews are attacking the blaze on the north flank, and also trying to stop the spread of the fire to the south, near the Stein Valley.

B.C. Wildfire Service/Twitter
B.C. Wildfire Service/Twitter

B.C. Parks has partly closed the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park because of the fire.

Evacuation orders remain in place for portions of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and multiple Lytton First Nation reserves.

Some residents temporarily return

The acting chief of the Lytton First Nation, John Haugen, said about 30 evacuees briefly returned home to salvage food they left behind in freezers when the fire broke out.

Haugen said 97 people from his community and about 40 people from neighbouring areas were forced out of their homes due to the fire.

He said power in the region isn't expected to be restored for at least 10 days. Because a timeline for when people may officially return to their properties has yet to be determined, he said rotting food would create another issue for residents.

Though Haugen said Sunday some of the smoke has diminished, Environment Canada has maintained a special air quality advisory issued for the Fraser Canyon due to the fire.

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