VANCOUVER-The Provincial Coroner Service said Saturday night that a team that ventured into Litton, British Columbia, found two bodies for the first time since the village was ravaged by wildfires this week.
The British Columbia Coroner Service announced on Friday that two people were presumed dead after the fire engulfed the entire village on Wednesday, but said it was not safe to enter the area.
A spokesperson said in an email: “With the assistance of the RCMP, the special investigation team of the BC Coroner Service was able to enter the scene safely today, and we can now confirm that two people have died in Leiden.” We are currently investigating, but preliminary findings at the scene indicate that the deceased and his family reported two deaths.”
The Coroner Service said it had not received any other reports of fire-related deaths, but officials said some people were still missing, largely due to the hurried evacuation of the village on Wednesday night.
Evacuation was the subject of criticism earlier on Saturday because the head of the Nlaka’pamux National Tribal Committee-Lytton First Nation is a member of-said the government had ignored the needs of community members in the early stages of the emergency.
Chief Matt Pasco said the tribal committee was forced to try to save lives with little help from the government.
Pasco ran a ranch near Ashcroft, British Columbia, north of Leiden. He said the first contact he got from the government was 12 hours after the evacuation started, and it was about his cattle, not about Affected community members.
“This is a bad attempt at what they want to do,” he said in an interview on Saturday. “They set up a process for our cattle, but they didn’t set up a process for the Nlaka’pamux people.”
Pasco said the government’s shortcomings can be traced to the province’s treatment of indigenous peoples and the lack of recognition of their jurisdiction in land management and management.
“Yes, we do have coordination issues because (the province) is not ready to deal with indigenous issues or indigenous people,” he said.
Public Security Minister Mike Farnworth (Mike Farnworth) acknowledged the government’s shortcomings in a statement.
“Despite the challenges, the early communication with the Nlaka’pamux National Tribal Committee and the Oregon Jack Creek Band did not meet expectations,” he said.
He said the ministry has taken steps to resolve the loopholes in the agreement that led to this situation.
Pasco said the tribal committee is working with the Litton Aborigines and other affected communities to determine how many members are still missing.
He said that the most pressing question is what will happen next in the community.
“This is so devastating, I can’t find an English word to describe this disaster. It’s hard to understand,” he said. “What will it look like next week? What will the first long weekend in September look like when we let the children go back to school?”
The new map of the BC Wildfire Service shows that wildfires have been growing since Friday night.
Kaitlin Baskerville of the BC Wildfire Service said at a public meeting on Saturday that the current situation is comparable to mid-August.
Mark Healey also told the meeting that firefighters are working to prevent the fire from spreading to Spences Bridge and preventing it from crossing the Fraser River.
Elsewhere, an out-of-control wildfire burned about 40 kilometers southwest of Kamloops, British Columbia, forcing officials to evacuate more than 100 homes on Friday night.
An order issued by the Thompson-Nikola District District stated that fires in the Duran Lake area have begun to threaten the safety of buildings and residents.
The federal minister has pledged to support fire protection in British Columbia, and public safety minister Bill Blair said the government has been preparing for the wildfire season in the past few weeks.
The cause of the wildfire that destroyed Litton is under investigation, although Governor John Hogan said he had heard anecdotal evidence that the fire started related to the train passing through the community.
The Office of Federal Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra stated in an email statement that it will take necessary actions if it discovers any possible non-compliance with Canadian railway safety laws and regulations.
The Canadian Press report was first published on July 3, 2021.