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B.C. premier gets first-hand look at destructive impact of Lytton fire

'We have a long summer ahead of us,' John Horgan told reporters Tuesday.
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Premier John Horgan received a first-hand look at Lytton, a town in B.C.'s Interior devastated by wildfire on June 30.

B.C. Premier John Horgan went on a flyover Tuesday to observe the damage from the Lytton wildfire that destroyed most of the village. He also stopped in Lillooet to speak to some of the BC Wildfire Service firefighters, some of whom lost their homes while on the fire line. He called it a moving experience.

Horgan said he will be meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss federal government assistance.

“I’ve spoken with the prime minister about issues that have emerged since Canada Day and the tragic loss of the town of Lytton and two fatalities. I’m going to be meeting with him later in the week. We’ll talk about all these issues.”

When asked about complaints that government agencies didn’t act quickly enough, Horgan said residents had mere minutes to get out ahead of the flames.

The premier noted many Lytton residents want to rebuild, but it will be with the impacts of climate change in mind. “The town of tomorrow will not be the town of the past. The community is ready for that and the province stands ready to help them do that.”

Horgan also talked about escalating FireSmart BC efforts to remove fuel from interface areas.

“Making communities fire safe is an ongoing process that we’ve been working on in British Columbia going back to the massive Kelowna fire back in 2003. We have a lot more work to do,” Horgan told reporters at a press conference in Kamloops Tuesday.

“It seems that we are always behind on these issues and one of the things we talked about with frontline workers today, was that very issue. That we can’t let the winter months be a time of dormancy. We need to take our opportunities when we are not out fighting the fires that are before us, to make sure we can prevent the ones that may be coming in the years ahead,” he added.

“I want to remind people it’s the first week in July, and we have a long summer ahead of us. We are not under any illusion that the crisis has passed.”