First Nations chief pledges action after rail service resumes in Lytton area – .

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Response to British Columbia Wildfires Criticized by Indigenous Chief – .


One of two railways with routes through Lytton, B.C., said it resumed service after a forest fire devastated the village last week, a move a First Nations chief has said. stated that he was ready to do “whatever is necessary” to quit.
Chief Matt Pasco, chairman of the Lytton-based Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, said the Canadian Pacific Railway’s decision to allow trains in the area is creating anxiety among members already shaken by the almost complete destruction of the village in a matter of minutes.

“It’s dry tinder, dry tinder,” Pasco said in an interview Tuesday. “Our governance structures say there should be a break here. “

Canadian Pacific said in a statement that mainline operations resumed Monday after the completion of track and infrastructure safety inspections.

The company said it was increasing inspections of its runways and equipment during this period of extreme weather conditions and that staff were on site to support local authorities.

The fire disrupted transportation services essential for the movement of goods in Western Canada and the rest of the continent, CP said.

“The safety of the public and our employees is our priority and we are implementing appropriate measures,” the statement said.

According to a statement released Tuesday evening by the village of Lytton, CP Rail and CN have no access to the village other than fire-fighting activities.

Structures destroyed by a forest fire can be seen in Lytton, British Columbia. The province said “most of the houses” and structures in the village were destroyed after a rapid fire suddenly ravaged the community, forcing more than 1,000 people to flee. (Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

Canadian National said it investigated a video circulating on social media showing a train characterized as having caused the fire in the village of Lytton and nearby Lytton First Nation.

In an email, CN said after reviewing the evidence it concluded that the video does not show a train in or near Lytton at the time of the fire in the village.

“In fact, the video shows a train 45 kilometers south of Lytton, and the smoke seen in the video is from another fire that was already burning,” said Mathieu Gaudreault, a CN spokesperson.

Gaudreault said the train in the video was identified by CN operations staff as train M3551 28, from Prince Rupert to Vancouver.

“Train M3551 28 passed through Lytton without incident at 1:27 pm PDT, hours before the wildfire that destroyed Lytton was first reported. “

Pasco said any risk of fire, including trains, should be avoided. If the transport of goods is deemed critical, then they can be moved by trucks, he suggested.

The Lytton fire made it clear that, despite everyone’s best efforts, the resources are not in place to protect residents from an aggressive fire, he said.

Pasco said he raised his concerns with the Prime Minister’s Office and federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.

When asked if he is considering blocking the tracks, Pasco said he hopes conversations with the relevant agencies will cause the service to stop, but he is also ready to do whatever is necessary on behalf of security and contacted other people asking them to stand up. in solidarity.

“I’m not here to threaten anyone or anything like that, but we take the safety of our people very seriously. I have asked others to support us and do good, and I suspect that healthy spirits will prevail, ”he said.

The tribal council will use its authority to protect its people if necessary, he said.

“I will use our jurisdiction to do whatever is necessary to save our people and make sure they are out of harm’s way. “

Prime Minister John Horgan told a press conference on Tuesday after flying over the devastated community that the federal government and Transport Canada are responsible for the railways and would leave it to them to speak on behalf of rail operations.

“I have no doubts that we can find a way forward,” Horgan said.

Representatives from CN and CP are now to observe and examine the damage that has been done to the community and the site has been secured by those conducting the investigations, he said.

“I’ll have more to say once the job is done. “

There are over 200 forest fires in British Columbia.

The BC Wildfire Service said investigators believed the fire that ravaged Lytton on June 30 was man-made, but the investigation is continuing.

Teck Resources Ltd., which depends on CP and CN rail services in the region, said in a statement that it is redirecting shipments from its iron and steel coal operations to Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert.

The company is assessing the overall impact on customer shipments and production, which will depend on the duration of the rail disruption.

However, based on the railways’ guidelines for the repair schedule, Teck’s sales of iron and steel coal in the third quarter are expected to be reduced from 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes due to limited rail traffic, the statement said.

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