1,000 people evacuated in and around western Canadian village as wildfire rages amid heatwave
Amid an unprecedented heatwave in Canada, which is believed to have killed hundreds, wildfires charred the western Canadian town of Lytton, forcing the authorities to evacuate 1,000 residents in and around the town, news agencies reported. The province of British Columbia has recorded 62 new fires in the past 24 hours. Almost 90 per cent of Lytton, which is 250 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, has been burnt.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with British Columbia Premier John Horgan and assured him of the government of Canada's support fr the people of Lytton.
Lytton has 250 residents who were evacuated on Wednesday evening, a day after the temperature soared to 49.6 degrees Celsius (121 degrees Fahrenheit). The evacuation order was extended Wednesday night to residents of about 100 properties north of Lytton. So far, no injuries or death related to the fires have been reported.
In the past 5 days, Vancouver reported 486 "sudden and unexpected" deaths, which is far above the regular number of 165 deaths for a similar period.
The cause of the wildfire is yet to be ascertained, while the fire has been classified as "out of control" and is estimated to be 6,400 hectares in size, reports said.
"The last 24 hours have been devastating for Lytton residents," defence minister Harjit Sajjan wrote on Twitter.
What happened in Lytton
This town, which is at 50 degree N latitude, almost the same as London, became one of the hottest places in the world on Sunday. On Monday, the mercury soared to 47.9 degree and on Tuesday, it was 49.6 degree. On Wednesday, the temperature came down and settled below 39 degree, a wildfire tore down the town in 15 minutes before the authorities could issue an official evacuation order.
The heatwave situation has been attributed to the phenomenon called heat dome in which hit air gets trapped by high-pressure fronts pushing it back to the ground. In such a situation, cloud formation is prevented which, in turn, leads to more heating.