UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.
An evacuation alert has been issued for Big Stick area west of Williams Lake.
UPDATE: 2 p.m.
BC Coroners Service says investigators are hoping to enter Lytton today. At least two people are presumed to be dead with an unknown number of others missing.
UPDATE: 1 p.m.
Evacuation orders for 31 properties in Castlegar has now been rescinded.
UPDATE: 9:15 a.m.
Canim Lake area is under an evacuation alert due to several fires burning in the region. The Deka Lake fire is an estimated 200 hectares in size.
Black Press Media reporters say the air is very thick from smoke across the region.
At least 40 fires are active near 100 Mile House.
UPDATE: 9 a.m.
Castlegar’s Merry Creek wildfire is being reported to be 70 per cent contained. The fire was burning close to the city, discovered July 1.
Evacuation orders remain in place.
Images of the destruction behind the road blocks surrounding Lytton show how widespread the destruction is.
BC Wildfire crews have been working to protect structures where they can, but 90 per cent of the village has been confirmed to be destroyed, including a grocery store, hospital and RCMP detachment, as well as dozens of homes. Lytton First Nation said in a bulletin Friday that much of the westside of the village was saved.
“Although flames licked the Westside, it never established a fire,” the bulletin reads.
Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe told media that two people are presumed dead, but official confirmation won’t happen until coroners and investigators are able to get into the village, which is currently too unsafe.
The fire is currently an estimated 6,500 hectares in size, smaller than the original estimate of 9,000 hectares from BC Wildfire Service a few days ago. Information officer Jean Strong told Black Press Media the more accurate assessment is due to crews getting better access to the fire.
The surrounding area of Lytton, from Kamloops to Logan Lake, are on high alert due to more than 70 fire starts from lightning strikes since Canada Day.
In Logan Lake, 166 properties have been put under an evacuation order due to a number of wildfires burning in the area.
Kamloops has seen a number of fires start in recent days – many remaining small as firefighters act quickly. However, the Juniper Ridge wildfire remains out of control, burning at 15 hectares a few kilometres east of the city centre.
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