A wildfire consumed an entire village in British Columbia, Canada, on Thursday after the small town recorded Canada’s highest-ever temperature of 121.2º Fahrenheit earlier this week, the Vancouver Sun reported on Friday.
“Most homes and structures in the village, as well as the ambulance station and the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] detachment, have been lost,” British Columbia Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told reporters on July 1 of the situation in Lytton, British Columbia, a village of roughly 1,000 residents.
Farnworth added that Lytton’s “evacuees fled to reception centres in three different directions from Lytton, but some were unaccounted for.”
“Residents had little time to react after the fire was sparked late Wednesday afternoon [June 30], following three successive days of record-breaking hot temperatures that topped out at 49.5 Celsius [about 121 Fahrenheit] Tuesday [June 29], the hottest ever recorded in Canada,” the Vancouver Sun reported on July 2.
“Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered all residents to evacuate immediately around 6 p.m. Wednesday due to the fire, which flashed into an inferno within 15 minutes,” the newspaper added.
“By Thursday afternoon [July 1], the Lytton fire had grown to 90 square kilometres [about 22,000 acres], a size that would cover almost 80 percent of the City of Vancouver, and was being fought using water-bombing helicopters with an incident-management team on the ground,” British Columbia Deputy Forest Minister Richard Manwaring said at a press conference on Thursday.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan told reporters on July 1 that British Columbia “experienced roughly 29,000 lightning strikes and 62 new fires start in the previous 24 hours,” noting that the wildfire that destroyed Lytton was one of many in the western province.
“I cannot stress enough how extreme the risk is at this time in almost every part of British Columbia,” Premier Horgan said on Thursday.
Premier Horgan added that he had spoken to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the morning of July 1. Horgan said Trudeau reinforced that Canada’s federal government will send “federal resources to bear in B.C. [British Columbia]’s fire response, including military support if it is requested and assistance to rebuild.”
The British Columbia Wildfire Service reported “87 active fires as of Thursday afternoon, including the Lytton Creek fire and eight other fires of note, three of which were also in the surrounding Kamloops fire region,” the Vancouver Sun reported.
“The heat in Lytton set its first national record on Sunday [June 27], reaching 115 F (45.1 C), then set another new high Monday [June 28], at 118.2 F (47.9 C). After yet another record high Tuesday [June 29], the heat eased to 102 degrees F (39 C) on Wednesday [June 30],” the Associated Press reported.