Canada hunts survivors of a fire that destroyed a small town: NPR


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A fire burning on the side of a mountain in Lytton, British Columbia, was seen Thursday from a trans-Canadian highway.

Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP


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Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP


A fire burning on the side of a mountain in Lytton, British Columbia, was seen Thursday from a trans-Canadian highway.

Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Officials on Friday hunted down all missing residents of the British Columbia city destroyed in a fire as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered federal aid.

The provincial coroner’s service said it had received reports of two fire-related deaths, but was unable to send coroners to confirm because “the area is still not safe for attendance.” He said he plans to send them on Saturday.

Approximately 1,000 Lytton residents had to leave their homes just minutes in advance on Wednesday night after suffering the previous day under a record high of 121.2 Fahrenheit (49.6 Celsius).

Officials said it was unclear whether anyone remained in the village 150 kilometers northeast of Vancouver due to a lack of mobile service and because it was not safe to enter much of the area.

Alfred Higginbottom, of the Indian band Skuppah, of the Nlaka’pamux government of the First Nations, observes the fire in the Lytton area, BC.

Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP


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Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP


Alfred Higginbottom, of the Indian band Skuppah, of the Nlaka’pamux government of the First Nations, observes the fire in the Lytton area, BC.

Darryl Dyck / Canadian Press via AP

“We know there are some people listed as missing,” said Mike Farnworth, the provincial Secretary of Public Security, although he said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Red Cross are working to locate the people.

The area’s main wireless network supplier, Telus Corp., said on Friday that it had deployed emergency communications equipment to help authorities and emergency teams dealing with forest fires.

Meanwhile, the woman who escaped the fire said she did not even have time to put on her shoes before fleeing.

The Canadian press reported that Noeleen McQuary-Budde said her husband left the house and returned moments later, screaming that there was fire on them and that they had to leave.

She said black smoke was pouring down the main village street and the fire seemed to be coming from all directions as they drove out of town with 11 other people piled up in the back of their truck.

“The whole Lytton village climbed in, I’d say 10 minutes,” she said.

“We watched it burn and just thanked the Creator for coming out.”

The couple spent the night on the grounds of a recreation center in nearby Lillooet with their dog Daisy, weighing 120 pounds (55 pounds).

In Ottawa, Trudeau promised that the federal government would “help rebuild and help people get through this.”

Trudeau said he had spoken to British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan and John Haugen, acting head of Lytton First Nation, and that he planned to convene an emergency group.

Another fire threat in Kamloops, 355 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, forced the evacuation of about 200 people on Thursday night, but officials said they could return on Friday.

Kamloops also recorded a record temperature this week of 117 Fahrenheit, (47.3 Celsius), but cooled to around 90 (32) on Friday.

“I can’t imagine what firefighters go through working in these conditions,” said Noelle Kekula, a fire information officer from the British Columbia Fire Service. “We’re ready for a real battle.”

The fire service said at least 106 fires were burning across the province, including dozens that began in the past two days.


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