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B.C’s auditor general to review government’s response to 2021 Lytton wildfire

May 2, 2024  By The Canadian Press

British Columbia’s auditor general says his office is doing a review of the province’s response to the 2021 wildfire that devastated the community of Lytton, B.C.

Michael Pickup says in a video statement that the report will focus on the B.C. government’s roles and responsibilities for disaster recovery, its support for Lytton, including funding, challenges that came with rebuilding and how the province can improve.

On June 30, 2021, just one day after Lytton hit a Canadian temperature record of 49.6 C, a wildfire swept through the village, killing two people and levelling almost the entire community.

Efforts to rebuild and return people to their homes have been slow, leading to protests from residents.


Thousands of artifacts were discovered while digging up the area, which was the Nlaka’pamux First Nation village and burial grounds and is protected under B.C.’s Heritage Conservation Act.

Lytton issued its first building permit for a single-family home in the downtown area last November, four months after backfilling work began on properties destroyed by the fire.

BC United MLA for Fraser-Nicola, Jackie Tegart, who has been calling for an audit since last year, said in a statement that it’s encouraging that an investigation is underway and “deeply disappointing” that the government has not prioritized the return of residents.

“To date, not a single home has been rebuilt. The government’s lack of action speaks volumes about its commitment to those affected,” says Tegart, who represents the area in the legislature.

“This investigation must be a turning point. I hope it sheds light on the delays from this government and provides a clear path forward. I will continue to press for accountability to ensure that the community of Lytton can return home.”

Bowinn Ma, the minister for emergency management, said in a statement Wednesday that the government will support the auditor general’s work.

“We continue to support the Village of Lytton in their recovery work and have funded work such as site remediation and the re-establishment of essential infrastructure and services,” the statement says.

“Our priority remains helping Lytton progress in their rebuild and I’m pleased to see that work is well underway, and more building permits are being issued.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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