One day after it set Canada’s all-time heat record, a British Columbia village was devoured by flames.
A fast-moving wildfire roared over the village of Lytton on Wednesday evening, which shocked climate scientists when temperature there surged to 121 degrees on Tuesday, breaking Canada’s national heat record for a third straight day.
The blaze was a sobering symbol of a hellscape in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, where hundreds have died and wildfires are erupting as temperatures climb to astonishing heights. One location in Canada’s Northwest Territories, hit 103 degrees Wednesday, the highest temperature observed so far north.
‘Our poor little town of Lytton is gone’: Village at center of Canada’s heat wave devastated by ‘catastrophic’ fires
The Lytton blaze prompted a mandatory evacuation order at 6 p.m. local time for the village of 250 people about 150 miles northeast of Vancouver.
“The fire, it took maybe 15 minutes to engulf the whole town,” Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman told NEWS 1130, a news radio station in Vancouver. “People, basically they just grabbed their keys, and ran out the door. That’s how quick the fire happened.”
Canada’s Global News reported that several buildings were destroyed and that an “unknown number of injured residents” were taken out of the village by ambulance.
“The town is about a kilometre [0.6 miles] long and there were flames from one end of town to the other,” Polderman told NEWS11. “I saw it with my own eyes.”
Lytton burned as more than a dozen wildfires erupted in British Columbia amid the most extreme heat wave recorded in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada.
This is what global warming looks like, and it is just the beginning. The areas that burn every summer are going to keep growing. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I think it’s likely that areas that were historically too wet for fires like this are going to burn as well. As always, there’s a long list of things we could be doing as a society to respond to this emergency, but we’re not going to for as long as the current system remains in place.
They’re welcome to prove me wrong by using their wealth and power to solve the problem, but rather than hoping they’re going to do that, we should be working taking away their power.