After a record-breaking heat wave, more than 130 fires have broken out in western Canada, most of them caused by lightning. The extreme weather has already killed nearly 700 people. According to the Public Security Minister, it promises to be a “long and challenging summer”.
Over the past few days, abnormally high temperatures have been recorded in parts of North America. Previously, people had to enter the village of Lytton in British Columbia run away in a hurry After the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada on Tuesday – 49.6 degrees – a fire reduced the site to ash. “Within 15 minutes the whole village was on fire,” Mayor Jan Boldermann told the BBC.
On Friday, British Columbia Fire Services reported that 136 fires broke out across the province after about 12,000 lightning strikes the previous day. The fires are mainly north of Kamloops, a city about 350 kilometers northeast of Vancouver. Hundreds of people have been warned that they may have to leave their homes.
Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said the government would provide aid and send helicopters and military personnel to fight the fires and reach people threatened by the fire. Several important roads have been closed due to the numerous fires.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said extreme weather and bushfires were having a “devastating” and “unprecedented” impact on British Columbia. “These bushfires show that we are in the early stages of what promises to be a long and challenging summer,” he said.
Health officials say high temperatures have been responsible for 719 sudden deaths in the past week. “Many of those killed in the past week are elderly people who live alone in private homes with minimal ventilation,” chief pathologist Lisa Lapointe said.
Temperatures are dropping in coastal areas of Canada, but not in the interior yet. Firefighters prepare for more bushfires over the weekend.
SEE ALSO: Flemish Canadians testify about the sweltering heat
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