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Canadian Town Where Temperatures Hit Record High Evacuated

Jess Hardiman

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| Last updated 

Canadian Town Where Temperatures Hit Record High Evacuated

The entire population of Lytton, British Columbia, has been ordered to evacuate due to wildfires in the area amid the ongoing heatwave.

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The Canadian village hit headlines earlier this week when it smashed the country's record for the hottest temperature three days in a row.

Its 250 residents were told to evacuate on Wednesday (30 June) after authorities raised the alarm for a rapidly escalating wildfire.

Canadian Town Where Temperature Hit 49.5°C Has Been Evacuated
Canadian Town Where Temperature Hit 49.5°C Has Been Evacuated

The order read: "A fire event within the village of Lytton is threatening structures and the safety of residents.

"All residents are advised to leave the community and go to a safe location."

Speaking to CBC News, Mayor Jan Polderman said the situation was dire for the small community.

He said: "It's dire. The whole town is on fire.

"It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere."

Polderman said he told residents to head for the nearby community of Boston Bar, adding that he was on his way there himself.

A reception centre was also set up in Merritt to the east, while other residents have chosen to seek shelter in Lillooet to the north.

A wildfire near Sparks Lake, British Columbia. Credit: British Columbia Wildfire Service
A wildfire near Sparks Lake, British Columbia. Credit: British Columbia Wildfire Service

"At the First Nation band office, the fire was a wall about three, four feet high coming up to the fence line," Polderman continued.

"I drove through town and it was just smoke, flames, the wires were down."

The wildfires come amid continued extreme temperatures in the area.

According to Environment Canada, Lytton recorded a temperature of 49.5°C on Tuesday afternoon - a record for Canada - after reaching 47.5°C on Monday and 46.6°C on Sunday.

The Guardian reports there were at least 486 sudden deaths in the last five days in British Columbia during the heatwave, an 195 percent increase on previous years, suggesting the scorching temperatures had deadly consequences.

A wildfire near McKinley Lake, British Columbia. Credit: British Columbia Wildfire Service
A wildfire near McKinley Lake, British Columbia. Credit: British Columbia Wildfire Service

Canada is currently experiencing a huge heatwave, along with parts of the US Pacific Northwest.

Experts say the heatwave is being caused by something described as a dome of high pressure over the north-west, which has been worsened by human-caused climate change.

This, they say, is making such extreme weather events more likely and more intense.

Zeke Hausfather, a scientist at the climate-data nonprofit Berkeley Earth, said that the Pacific Northwest has warmed by about three degrees Fahrenheit (1.7°C) in the past half-century.

He said: "In a world without climate change, this still would have been a really extreme heatwave.

"This is worse than the same event would have been 50 years ago, and notably so."

Featured Image Credit: British Columbia Wildfire Service

Topics: Weather, World News, News, heatwave, Canada

Jess Hardiman
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