Whole town is on fire’: Heat wave, wildfires threaten safety of residents in Canada village
- The soaring temperature has caused hundreds of deaths and the wildfires have threatened the safety of residents of British Columbia village, situated 153 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, Canada.
While millions of people in western Canada are reeling under record-breaking temperatures, the threat from wildfires has forced authorities to evacuate a village in British Columbia. The soaring temperature has caused hundreds of deaths and the wildfires have threatened the safety of residents of Lytton, situated 153 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
Video footage shared by local authorities showed wildfires raging on the hills overlooking Lytton and engulfing the town as residents rushed to safety. After wildfires began spreading rapidly on Wednesday, Mayor Jan Polderman of Lytton issued evacuation orders for all 250 residents.
“All residents are advised to leave the community and go to a safe location, ″Polderman said in the evacuation order.
On Tuesday, the average temperature of the British Columbia village touched a record high of 49.6 degrees Celsius, breaking the previous highs of 47.9 degrees Celsius on Monday and 46.1 degrees Celsius on Sunday. Lytton’s temperature came down to around 39 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, but the raging wildfires threatened the safety of its residents.
"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 was fire everywhere," Polderman told Canadian broadcaster CBC News.
The deadly heatwave has renewed the climate action debate and experts believe that such record-setting temperatures would become more frequent. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the country has been frequently witnessing such extreme weather conditions, warning that the ongoing heatwave won't be the last.
The sizzling heatwave has been blamed on a high-pressure "heat dome", a phenomenon when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US government agency under the department of commerce, a “heat dome” forms when strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions combine with influences from La Niña, creating vast areas of sweltering heat.
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China's embassy in New Zealand rebuked New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for comments she made at the NATO summit about Chinese assertiveness, calling them "misguided" and "wrong". Ardern said on Wednesday in Madrid that China has "in recent times also become more assertive and more willing to challenge international rules and norms." New Zealand, which is heavily reliant on China for trade, has often shied away from direct criticism of Beijing.
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