No link between railway operations and the devastating Lytton wildfire: TSB

Oct 14 2021, 5:58 pm

After a thorough investigation, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) found no link between railway operations and the wildfire that decimated the small town of Lytton, BC.

The Lytton wildfire broke out at the end of June and there has been no confirmed cause for the fire.  This investigation was launched by the TSB after reports suggested that sparks from a rail line may have ignited some nearby dried up vegetation.

Lytton made headlines around the world after breaking the all-time temperature record in Canada multiple times this summer.

Those temperatures served as the perfect storm for the devastating wildfires that destroyed nearly 90% of the town.

The first report of a fire was on June 30, and the TSB confirmed with Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) that no rail grinding activities or track work took place on that day.

A TSB investigator met with the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) origin investigator, and no anomalies were observed or reported.

Various samples were collected, including some from a black carbonaceous coal-like substance which the BCWS expressed interest in as a possible source of ignition. They found no conclusive evidence that any of the samples contributed to the fire.

In conclusion, the TSB suggested that “further effort, beyond a Class 5 TSB Investigation, is not warranted unless new information that a TSB reportable event occurred.”

BCWS continues to investigate the wildfire, alongside BC RCMP officials who are gauging whether a need for a parallel criminal investigation is warranted.

In a statement following the TSB findings, the BC RCMP suggest that a police investigation into the fire is still active.

They add that “significant progress” has been made when it comes to witness statements and collecting evidence.

There is no timeline on the investigation.

Amir AliAmir Ali

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