The forest fires that started after three consecutive days of record high temperatures destroyed most of the small town of Litton in western Canada because government officials issued new evacuation orders on Thursday as more wildfires swept across the province.
On Wednesday night, more than 1,000 people in Litton and surrounding areas in central British Columbia were evacuated after a rapidly spreading fire engulfed the community, taking residents off guard. The governor of British Columbia, John Hogan, told reporters that the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Post Media quoted their son as saying that a couple in their 60s died in the fire. Reuters was unable to independently verify the death toll. BC officials said at the briefing that some residents were missing and stated that “most of the houses and buildings” in Lytton had been lost.
“The town has sustained structural damage and 90 per cent of the village is burned, including the centre of the town,” Brad Vis, a member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, said in a Facebook post.
He said the fire also caused extensive damage to BC Hydro stations and highways, limiting access to Lytton by road.
Horgan said 62 new fires were reported in BC in the past 24 hours, forcing authorities to issue new evacuation orders affecting some 700 people in BC s Cariboo region.
The sizzling heatwave also ravaged the US Northwest with record-high temperatures.
Amateur video footage showed residents of Lytton scrambling to leave town in cars as fires burned down trees and some structures.
Leiden Mayor Jan Polderman ordered everyone in 250 town to evacuate on Wednesday night. On Wednesday, residents of 87 other properties north of Lytton were also ordered to leave.
Litton set a record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.28 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday. The previous highest temperature in Canada was known for its severe winters, at 45 degrees Celsius, which was set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
On Wednesday, strong winds of 71 km/h (44 mph) were recorded in the area, which caused a fire.
B.C. recorded at least 486 sudden deaths in the five days to Wednesday, almost three times the normal number of deaths in the province during this period. The autopsy service center said on Wednesday.