Lytton’s local state of emergency is set to end June 19 – nearly two years after a fire ripped through the village.
Council voted unanimously in Wednesday’s (June 14) meeting to end the local state of emergency, which first went into effect after the devastating wildfire that swept through the village on June 30, 2021. It has been renewed weekly since then.
The village’s acting CAO Diane Mombourquette said staff have met with B.C.’s Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Ministry to help understand the pros and cons of ending the local state of emergency.
“From that conversation, we felt that based on the works remaining to be done in the village, there were other ways we could accomplish what we needed to do rather than have the entire village covered by a State of Local Emergency.”
Mombourquette said it was time to move forward with rebuilding and use other tools.
Coun. Jennifer Thoss said it was “such a great milestone.”
It was on June 30, 2021 that the fire ripped through Lytton, following three days of record-breaking heat during the now-deadly heat dome. It was the hottest day ever recorded in Canada at 49.6 C.
Two people were killed in the Lytton fire and most of the community was burned to the ground.
A 2022 report by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction noted that scientists found the root cause was “easily ignitable structures and homes, and not just a wildfire problem.”
Recovery manager Don Wong said the village is “shifting from recovery to rebuild.”
A corporate report from the village says that by removing the state of local emergency, property owners will no longer be restricted from accessing their properties.
“This opens up access for property owners to make plans to attend to their property, where feasible, and begin to plan their rebuild.”
The ongoing declaration was first deemed necessary due to the “extensive remediation and archaeological work that was taking place over the last 18 months.” The village might need to periodically restrict access to certain areas as work continues.
– With files from The Canadian Press