OTTAWA — Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is ordering Canada’s two major railroad operators to step up their fire prevention efforts as wildfires continue to scorch British Columbia.
Alghabra says the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways must ensure a 60-minute response time to any fires detected along rail lines running through Lytton, B.C., with the goal of extinguishing or controlling the blaze and asking the local fire service for help if necessary.
The ministerial order comes after the Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation as a result of new information on the suspected source of a devastating wildfire that raced through Lytton on June 30.
The board said Friday the information came by way of probes by the RCMP and BC Wildfire Service into the cause of a blaze that destroyed much of the village and killed two people, though no cause has been disclosed.
Canadian National Railway has said its trains were not linked to the fire and Canadian Pacific resumed its service through Lytton on Monday.
The new order, in effect until Oct. 31, also calls for at least 10 fire detection patrols every 24 hours on stretches of track that run through the community, makes conductors responsible for spotting and reporting fires on those lines and requires slower train speeds when the fire danger level for the area is “extreme” anywhere across the country.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2021.
The Canadian Press