This city broke Canada’s heat record, then faced deadly wildfire
The wildfire season began tragically and early in western North America. After a historic heat wave that ravaged the Pacific Northwest earlier this week, flames erupted across the region, including the small village of Lytton, British Columbia. Earlier this week, the village broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada; Wednesday night, the city was engulfed in a rapid forest fire.
“The whole town is on fire,” said Jan Polderman, Mayor of Lytton. Radio-Canada News. “It took a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, fire everywhere. “
Polderman issued an evacuation order and residents were forced to flee for their lives as smoke and flames enveloped the city, located about 161 miles northeast of Vancouver. According to CBC News, around 200 Lytton residents have been evacuated to nearby towns, and efforts are now underway to report them all.
The conditions were ripe for a fire. Shortly before the fire, Lytton suffered three consecutive days of record heat, peaking at 121 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday. Unprecedented temperatures have dried up vegetation, creating fuel for the fires. Even before the Lytton fire broke out, firefighters were already fighting two more nearby fires, CBC News reports. While the cause of the fire that swept through Lytton is still under investigation, once it started strong winds fanned the flames and helped it grow and spread rapidly.
Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t seem to be improving: much of western Canada stay under heat warning. Conditions aren’t much better in the United States either. The same record-breaking heat wave in Canada also hit the western United States, which is already suffering from prolonged drought, and large fires broke out across the West. the National Interagency Fire Center reports that 44 large fires have torched more than 667,000 acres from Alaska to Arizona, and it is still early in the wildfire season. Current forecasts show that above normal temperatures will continue across much of the west.
Last year wildfires torched millions of acres across the United States, and this year has already started hard. Hot, dry weather makes fire prevention even more critical – be sure to do your part by camping and recreation safely.
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