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Firefighters from other provinces and military prepare to help battle BC blazes

The RCMP investigation into the cause of the fire that destroyed most of the Village of Lytton is still in its early stages.
FILE PHOTO: A controlled burn. By Eric Thompson

Help is close at hand for exhausted B.C. firefighters.

During a Sunday news briefing on the situation in the province, the BC Wildfire Service's Cliff Chapman said 100 out-of-province personnel are due to arrive in Abbotsford Monday. They will be screened for COVID-19 and then deployed to where they are needed.

The federal government is also working to have military personnel ready to go.

“They've moved or they're in the process of moving 350 individuals, ground troops, into Edmonton in support of the potential for B.C. to need those ground resources," Chapman said.

"Additional to that, we are in the process of locking in some aircraft, whether that be the Hercules aircraft, and as well some rotary wing aircraft to support the movement of our people so that we can move our own staff around the province as fires escalate potentially. So [we're] hopeful to see those resources arriving in B.C. this week."

The RCMP investigation into the cause of the fire that destroyed most of the Village of Lytton is still in its early stages.

“The RCMP is working with the BC Wildfire Service to try and determine the cause and origin of the fire,” said Dawn Roberts, the director in charge for BC RCMP Communications.

“The investigation is a priority, and remains active and ongoing. We have no timeline on how long it will take, but it will be thorough, and we ask for everyone's patience to allow the investigators time and space in order to determine the facts.”

Roberts did confirm investigators have connected with CN and CP, and railway officials indicated they would support and assist where possible. She did not confirm if rail crew members had been interviewed yet.

Roberts also addressed the situation for residents who have said they want to be allowed back into Lytton to assess the damage, or check on livestock and pets they left behind.

“The area has been continually assessed with respect to access, and there are still significant and ongoing safety and environmental hazards. We are working very closely with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and BC Wildfire Service around decisions relating to access. There are a number of agencies in the area assessing things like safety hazards and damage or repair to critical infrastructure,” said Roberts.

“They are equipped with protective gear and they're specially trained in the areas of search and recovery so we do ask for your continued patience with respect to any road closures or checkpoints that are in place at this time.”

There is no update on when Highway 1 will be reopened through the Fraser Canyon.