Wildfire near Lytton, B.C., smaller than believed but heat creates challenges

·2 min read

LYTTON, B.C. — The estimated size of a wildfire burning near Lytton, B.C., has been reduced thanks to more accurate mapping, however the BC Wildfire Service warns there's still a risk it will grow.

The wildfire service says in an update the Nohomin Creek wildfire has scorched nearly 22 square kilometres of land, not the 25 square kilometres previously reported.

It says hot and dry conditions this week will not only increase the risk of fire activity but is also adding extra challenges for personnel on the ground.

Crews on both the north and south flanks of the fire are making progress, however sizzling temperatures means they need to take frequent breaks to prevent heat stress and exhaustion.

Environment Canada says temperatures in the region will approach 40 C by mid week and a special air quality statement for the Fraser Canyon warns of the dangers of inhaling wildfire smoke.

Officials have said the fire burned several homes after it was discovered just northwest of Lytton, prompting several evacuation orders by the Lytton First Nation and Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

It is burning across the Fraser River from Lytton, which was left in ruins after a different wildfire swept through the village last year.

While access in and out of the fire zone was initially limited by flooding and dangerously high river flows, the small Lytton Ferry that crosses the river is back in service for crews.

"Crew transportation to both the ferry and helicopters will significantly decrease travel time to the work site and increase crew hours on the fire and overall safety," the wildfire service says.

The fire is still growing along its western flank but has not crossed the Stein River and crews are ready to respond swiftly if that happens, it says.

More than 450 metres of sprinkler lines have been installed along the Stein Valley walking path.

"The purpose of the sprinkler system is to add moisture into the valley bottom to protect park infrastructure," the update says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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