Wildfire engulfed 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.
It set a new 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 (113 degrees Fahrenheit), set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
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.”
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.