‘Whole town is on fire’: Forest fire forces evacuation of BC town that hits record 121 degrees


Forest fire amid record-breaking heat wave in western Canada has forced authorities to order residents to evacuate a village in British Columbia that broke the country’s record for hottest temperature three days in a row this week.

Lytton’s Mayor Jan Polderman issued the evacuation order on Wednesday, saying on Twitter that the blaze threatened the structures and safety of residents of the community, located 153 kilometers northeast of Vancouver.

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“All residents are advised to leave the community and go to a safe place,” Polderman said.

In an interview with CBC News, the mayor said the situation was dire for the community of 250 people.

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“The whole city is on fire,” he said. “It took about 15 minutes between the first sign of smoke and, all of a sudden, fire everywhere. “

Erica Berg, a provincial fire information officer, said the evacuation order was issued about an hour after the blaze started, but she did not know the extent of it.

Signposted highways north and south of the village were closed as firefighters also dealt with two other forest fires in the area.

Lytton’s temperature hovered around 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) on Wednesday. This was down from Tuesday, when the village recorded a new Canadian high of 121.2 F (49.6 C), shattering previous highs of 118.2 F (47.9 C) it had. reached on Monday and 115 F (46.1 C) on Sunday.

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About 15 kilometers (10 miles) south of the Kanaka Bar First Nations community, Jean McKay said she and her 22-year-old daughter, Deirdre McKay, began to panic as the smell of smoke grew stronger. strong.

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“I was still sitting there and wondering what to pack, going out my door emotionally but thinking, ‘I’m leaving it all behind.’ It’s hard. Very hard. When my girlfriend told me her home was burning, it really hit me, ”McKay said.

“My daughter called before we lost services and everything, she said, ‘Get out of here, get out of here.’ “

There was a memory her daughter couldn’t leave behind: “She grabbed my dad’s picture on the wall,” McKay said. “I said to him, ‘We are going out and this is the house that we have forever built and in which you have grown up. ” It’s hard.

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