Advertisement

At least $78M in damage estimated from devastating Lytton, B.C. fire

Click to play video: 'Lytton residents make the emotional return to burned-out town' Lytton residents make the emotional return to burned-out town
Evacuated residents of Lytton boarded buses to drive through the burned-out remains of the their town. It was their first chance to see first-hand what was lost and what survived the devastating fire. Aaron McArthur reports – Jul 9, 2021

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates the damage caused by the wildfire that wiped out most of village of Lytton, B.C., is $78 million.

The bureau says in a statement there has been about 300 claims so far, most of which are related to residential properties.

Aaron Sutherland, vice-president western and Pacific at the bureau, says Canada’s insurers are committed to help rebuild from the loss and to help the residents of Lytton recover.

Read more: Volunteer-led team of veterans who helped Fort McMurray recover from fire headed to Lytton

Fire raced through the community on June 30, killing two people and leaving other residents minutes to get out.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated by RCMP, the BC Wildfire Service and the Transportation Safety Board after some indication that a train may have been a factor in the fire.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Lytton Mayor on his community’s spirit and plans to rebuild the village' Lytton Mayor on his community’s spirit and plans to rebuild the village
Lytton Mayor on his community’s spirit and plans to rebuild the village – Jul 16, 2021

The bureau’s statement says the Lytton wildfire is a tragic reminder of the increasing risk facing communities in B.C. and Canada from a changing climate.

“This wildfire has devastated the community,” Sutherland says in the statement.

Governments at all levels must prioritize investments that build resilience and better protect families and communities, the statement says.

Read more: ‘Hoping we can get the town rebuilt in 2 years’: Lytton mayor shares vision for future

“We all must do better to prepare for wildfires, floods, heat, hail and windstorms. These perils are having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future change and adapt to the new weather reality we face,” Sutherland says.

Story continues below advertisement

The news comes as heat and dry conditions move in after a damp long weekend in B.C., increasing the wildfire risk.

Click to play video: 'Multiple investigations into fire that devastated B.C. town of Lytton' Multiple investigations into fire that devastated B.C. town of Lytton
Multiple investigations into fire that devastated B.C. town of Lytton – Jul 12, 2021

The BC Wildfire Service says about two dozen new fires have been sparked over the last 48 hours and almost 270 fires are considered active, the highest number in about 10 days.

Crews are keeping a close eye on the Boundary region of the province after Environment Canada maps show a fierce lightning storm near Grand Forks, east of the area where the 160-square kilometre Nk-Mip Creek wildfire threatens properties from Oliver and Osoyoos east to the Baldy Mountain ski resort.

Read more: Lytton, B.C., residents make the emotional return to burned-out town

In the Cariboo, an evacuation order was issued late Tuesday as winds fanned a 70-square-kilometre blaze along Highway 20 west of Alexis Creek affecting 92 parcels of land.

Story continues below advertisement

Statistics from Emergency Management BC show 64 evacuation orders across the province, affecting nearly 4,300 properties, while residents of roughly 21,000 other properties have been warned to be ready to leave on short notice.

The B.C. government has extended its wildfire state of emergency until Aug. 18, saying the order allows it to manage potential mass evacuations more quickly and give better support to residents affected by evacuation orders.

Sponsored content