SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Wildfire forces evacuation of residents in small western Canada town

Wildfire broke out in the small western Canadian town of Lytton, forcing residents to evacuate after it suffered record-breaking temperatures.

Officials braced for more sizzling weather and the threat of wildfires from a deadly heat wave that ravaged western Canada and the U.S. Northwest amid record high temperatures.

Lytton, a town in central British Columbia, this week broke Canada’s all-time hottest temperature record three times.

Amateur video footage showed residents scrambling to get out of town in their cars as fires burned down trees and some structures. The fire spread so swiftly that people were forced to leave behind their belongings and pets.

Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman ordered everyone in the town of 250 to vacate late on Wednesday.

“It’s dire. The whole town is on fire,” Polderman told the CBC. “It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere.”

Residents of another 87 properties north of Lytton were also ordered to leave on Wednesday.

Lytton set a record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.28 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. The previous high in Canada, known for brutally cold winters, was 45 degrees Celsius, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.

On Wednesday, strong winds gusting up to 71 kph (44 mph) were recorded in the area, further flaming the fires.

In British Columbia, at least 486 sudden deaths were reported over five days to Wednesday, nearly three times the usual number that would occur in the province over that period, the B.C. Coroners Service said on Wednesday.

    Source:
  • Reuters