After temperatures topped 121 degrees, a Canadian village was ‘devastated’ by wildfires

A rapid, fast-moving wildfire engulfed a Canadian village this week within minutes of setting a new heat record.

The British Columbia Coroners Service announced on Friday that two people have died in the fire that devastated the small Canadian village of Lytton.

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During British Columbia’s record-breaking heat wave, more than 230 deaths were reported.

Lytton officials are still searching for missing residents as most of the community burned to the ground on Wednesday, just a day after it broke a record for the hottest temperature in Canada. 

On Wednesday, Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman said, “there were flames everywhere” when we were trying to reach houses to evacuate.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, said there are several residents who are still unaccounted for after the fire engulfed the village of Lytton. 

Several thousand people were evacuated within minutes as flames quickly moved into Lytton, Premier John Horgan said. 

There will be a tremendous amount of effort needed to restore the historic location to what it once was,” Horgan said.

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Lytton, British Columbia, was devastated by a wildfire on Wednesday, June 30, as seen from an aerial view taken from a helicopter on Thursday, July 1.

There is fire everywhere

As a result of the wildfire, Polderman, who issued an order to evacuate, has been traumatized, according to Horgan.

According to a news release from the village, the mayor issued the evacuation order late Wednesday, advising residents “to leave the community and go to a safe location.”.

Polderman says the entire town is ablaze. There were fires everywhere within 15 minutes of the first sign of smoke.

I drove through town and all I saw was smoke, flames, the power was down. At the band office, the fire was a wall about three, four feet high.

Several structures are on fire in every direction, as seen on video captured by residents fleeing the town.

Lytton MP Brad Vis wrote on Facebook that the village center is completely destroyed. He said 90% of the village was burned. 

According to Vis’ post, the fire caused damage to hydro stations, railways, and highways. It has been reported that several people have been hurt, and access to the highway has been restricted, he said.

Lytton has a population of about 250. It is located approximately 195 miles east of Vancouver.

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A handout satellite image made available by NASA shows the McKay Creek fire, left, the Sparks Lake fire, right, and a smaller fire at bottom, visible just south of Lytton, British Columbia, on Wednesday, June 30.

The temperate rainforest isn’t our typical setting

As of Thursday evening, the British Columbia Wildfire Service reported that the fire had charred more than 6,400 hectares, or roughly 16,000 acres. The fire is expected to grow as the weather remains hot, dry, and windy.

In the Northwest and Western Canada, the fast-moving fire occurred after a historic heat wave. According to the BC Wildfire Dashboard, there are currently 152 active fires in British Columbia, with 89 new fires started in the past two days and 210 fires reported in the last week.

During the last 24 hours, more than 29,000 lightning strikes were recorded, sparking multiple wildfires.

Horgan said all parts of British Columbia are experiencing extreme fire risks at the moment.

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Justin Trudeau promised he would send resources as necessary to the area after speaking with Premier Brian Pallister.

In a news conference Friday, Trudeau said that his government will work to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

As well as grieving families, Trudeau also noted that climate change is playing a significant role in getting more extreme weather events. 

As the fire season continues, Farnworth may enact a state of emergency if the fires continue to spread. 

Increasing climate change is causing wildfires to be more destructive in the region, according to Harris.

“I regret to inform you that this is the third horrific fire that has occurred during my career in this position,” he said. Typically, temperate rainforests don’t work this way.”.

A ‘time unlike any other’

Climate change is having a significant impact on all of our lives, the premier said. We have witnessed record temperatures across British Columbia. It’s graphic.”

By assisting Lytton’s fire department, the BC Wildfire Service responded to the “evolving situation” in a tweet published Thursday morning.

A reception center has opened in Merritt near Lytton for evacuees from Lytton, according to its Facebook page.

Lytton recorded the highest temperature in Canada on Tuesday with 121° F (49.5° C). As reported by ECCC Weather British Columbia, it was the third consecutive day that records were broken in the area.

450 fires have been reported in the province so far this year, it said.

Provinces in the region have been devastated by extreme temperatures. The British Columbia coroners have reported 719 deaths between June 25 and July 1. Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner of the province, said that figure is three times the amount that would normally occur during the same time period.

Lapointe called it an “unprecedented period.”

“(Friday), the coroners service is seeing a downward trend from the number of deaths reported over the past few days, and we are hopeful this trend will continue,” Lapointe said. “Some parts of the province are continuing to experience unusually high temperatures, and it remains important that we all take extra care to avoid the dangerous effects of severe heat. Be sure to check on family, friends, and neighbours, especially if they live alone.

Original article by CNN

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