The Lytton Creek Fire in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada (June 2021)
Camchin, also known as the Village of Lytton is located at the confluence of the Fraser River and the Thompson River and is home to the Lytton First Nation. Camchin, meaning the river meeting, is a place where over 250 residents once called home before the wildfire swept through the valley on the last day of the month in June 2021. The day before, the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada, at 49.6 °C sparked concern for local inhabitants.
Following this record setting day and 71km/h winds that pushed the fire north into the community of Lytton, it quickly burned down the village. On top of this tremendous disaster, residents were given a mere “15 minutes to gather their belongings and evacuate the town”, fleeing in all directions to find a safe place for the night and coming days. It is important to note that “First Nations account for 40 per cent of evacuations in Canada, yet make up only four per cent of Canada’s overall population” and this highlights the systemic inequalities in this country–a place where environmental racism is present in the height of the climate crisis.
Members of the community are still struggling to get back on their feet after this blaze tore through their town. 90% of structures were burnt down, leaving little for people to call this place their home. Five months later, the provincial government decided to allocate $1 million dollars in the shape of a grant that can support the Village of Lytton throughout an economic recovery that can be used towards efforts for operational activities and the local economy. Under this recovery grant, key areas are addressed such as temporary housing, a First Nations account for 40% of evacuations recovery team, and safe return; however, is it enough to address all the ailments that this wildfire has caused for this community? How can they prepare for the next flood, fire, and heat wave?
- List of extreme temperatures in Canada. (2021, December 3). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extreme_temperatures_in_Canada ↵
- Romer, A. (2021, July 8). On the ground with Lytton wildfire evacuees. https://thenarwhal.ca/lytton-bc-wildfire-evacuees/ ↵
- Struzik, E. (2021, July 5). The future of fire in Canada. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/07/05/The-Fire-Future-In-Canada/ ↵
- Hurst, A. & Kotyk, A. (2021, July 1). Lytton fire: Residents unaccounted for; most of BC village destroyed, officials say. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/lytton-fire-90-per-cent-of-b-c-villagehas-burned-in-devastating-blaze-local-mp-says-1.5493293 ↵
- BC Government News. (2021, December 8). Grant to support Lytton’s wildfire recovery. https://news.gov.bc.ca/25913 ↵