Canada-U.S. Heatwave live: town of Lytton destroyed by forest fires as hundreds die in “heat dome”
Satellite video of “firestorm” over Canada causes 700,000 lightning in one night
A British Columbia city that experienced record high temperatures earlier this week has been largely destroyed by a wildfire, with at least two deaths reported.
Lytton suffered highs of 49.6 ° C on Tuesday, the day before its 1,000 residents were forced to flee their homes as flames engulfed their camp.
A couple in their 60s who took shelter from the blaze died after a utility pole collapsed and fell on them, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Most of Lytton’s homes and buildings were in ruins as of Thursday afternoon, said Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s security minister.
Meanwhile, authorities are trying to locate some of the evacuees, as not all have been identified.
Lytton City Council member Lilliane Graie said Reuters: “Our people are scattered north and south and we are trying to establish who is where.”
The British Columbia Wildfire Service said the Lytton wildfire was burning uncontrollably over an area of around 30 square miles.
It comes after an unprecedented heat wave in western Canada and the United States, which is believed to have killed hundreds of people in British Columbia and the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington.
Hundreds of deaths in the heatwave in the United States and Canada
Hundreds of people are believed to have died from the extreme heat in the United States and Canada over the past week.
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau have warned intense conditions are not ad hoc.
“We are seeing more and more of this type of extreme weather event in recent years,” Trudeau said Wednesday. “So realistically we know this heat wave won’t be the last.”
In the United States, Biden reiterated this message, saying climate change is causing “a dangerous confluence of extreme heat and prolonged drought.”
Our senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle has this roundup of events:
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 11:05 AM
Temperatures worsen ‘humanitarian crisis’ among Portland’s homeless community
Scott Kerman, who works at a homeless charity in Portland, Oregon, said the area was already suffering from a “humanitarian crisis” before the heat wave.
Now things are even worse for homeless people in the state, he added.
Mr. Kerman said The independent: “This past summer and fall we had horrible forest fires. The smoke was unbearable. Then you step into winter. We have just gone through an unprecedented heat wave. It really was a matter of life and death just to keep people hydrated.
His comments come as experts warn of a “link between climate change and homelessness,” where more people become homeless as a result of the climate, and those who already are facing greater hardship.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 10:44 AM
Oregon heatwave death toll
The death toll from the heatwave in Oregon has risen to 79, authorities said.
In Multnomah County, the state, the youngest victim was 44 and the oldest 97.
Andrew Phelps, chief of state emergency management, said: “To learn of the tragic loss of life in the recent heat wave is heartbreaking. As an emergency manager – and an Oregonian – it’s devastating that people haven’t been able to access the help they need during an emergency. “
In Washington state, more than 20 deaths have been linked to the intense heat. However, officials said it is expected to increase.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 10:23 AM
Heatwave causes Washington state’s biggest glacier melt in a century
It’s not just humans who suffer from the North American heatwave, nature too.
Record-breaking temperatures are responsible for the largest glacier melt in Washington state in about 100 years, according to glaciologist TJ Fudge.
My colleague Jane dalton has more details:
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 10:02 AM
Seven dead from heatwave in Spokane, Washington
Seven people have died from the heatwave in Spokane County, Wash., His medical examiner has confirmed.
“At present, there are seven deaths for which circumstances suggest they may be heat-related, although autopsy results are not yet available to confirm,” they wrote.
Two of the victims lived in the same apartment building and were named Robert Hunt, 68, and Andre Pharr, 36.
Andrew Buncombe reports from the city of Spokane:
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 09:43
Ninety percent of Lytton affected by wildfires, politician says
Ninety percent of the village of Lytton was set on fire after a wildfire swept through it, a Canadian politician confirmed.
Brad Vis, Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, wrote on Facebook that the flames had caused “extensive damage” to Lytton and “surrounding critical infrastructure” such as railways and highways.
“The city has suffered structural damage and 90% of the village is set on fire, including the city center,” he added.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 09:22
Nearly 100 forest fires rage in Canadian province
Nearly 100 forest fires continue to rage in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC), emergency services said.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 87 active fires, nine of which were notable, according to the British Wildfire Services.
One of the conflagrations, known as the Sparks Lake Fire, now covers an area of 200 square kilometers north of Kamloops.
The unprecedented heat wave means British Columbia is particularly vulnerable to new forest fires.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 9:02 AM
“Extreme risk” of forest fires in British Columbia, warns Premier
The premier of British Columbia (BC) has warned that most of the province is threatened by wildfires.
Speaking on Thursday, John Horgan said 62 new fires had started in the past 24 hours, adding that there had been 29,000 lightning strikes.
“I cannot stress enough the extreme severity of the risk right now in almost all parts of British Columbia,” he said.
Although he did not quantify the extent of the damage in the town of Lytton, Mr Horgan said it had been “devastated”.
“And it will take an extraordinary effort to restore this historic place to what it was,” he added.
The Prime Minister met yesterday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who confirmed that federal support will be given to British Columbia to help fight the fires.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 8:42 AM
Two dead in the Lytton fire
At least two people died in the Lytton fire, Canadian media reported.
A couple in their 60s were killed when the flames caused an electric pole to collapse and fall on the pit where they were taking refuge, according to the Vancouver Sun.
“It’s their grave now,” their son told the newspaper.
It is not known how and when their bodies would be recovered, he added.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 8:22 AM
Wildfire destroys town in British Columbia
Temperatures in the town of Lytton, British Columbia, hit a Canadian record high of 49.6 ° C on Tuesday.
A day later, the town had to be evacuated after a forest fire hit it.
The flames then destroyed most of Lytton’s homes and buildings, according to Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s Minister of Security.
John Haugen, Deputy Chief of the Lytton First Nation, said the community has suffered tremendous “devastation and loss”.
Rory sullivanJuly 2, 2021 8:06 AM