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Emergency responders in Canada are currently battling more than 180 fires in British Columbia amid a severe heat wave that has killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest.
About 70% of active fires are likely caused by lightning strikes, according to the British Columbia Wildfire Service. dashboard. Chris VajaskyA Vaisala meteorologist says the lightning detection network detected more than 700,000 lightning strikes in the area between June 30 and July 1.
About 95 miles northeast of Vancouver, residents of the village of Lytton were forced to evacuate to avoid spreading the fire that began Wednesday afternoon.
While the deaths of two residents have already been confirmed by the British Columbia Forensic Service, others are still missing.
For three days, Leighton suffered from record heat that reached an extreme 121 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the fire started on Wednesday and forced the village’s 250 residents to flee.
Leighton resident Jeff Chapman was with his parents as they noticed smoke and flames from afar. He helped them climb into a freshly dug trench, before fleeing when he realized there wasn’t enough space. The fire arrived in just 10 minutes. He told CBC.
He ended up lying near railroad tracks only to watch a power line fall over the ditch where his parents were.
“I can’t get it out of my mind,” Chapman told the network.
Now about 90% of Lytton has been burned, according to Brad Weiss, the MP representing the area.
In response to Lytton’s devastation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announce Federal aid will be sent to help rebuild the village.
The fires come amid a severe heat wave in the region. Extreme heat can increase the risk of wildfires.
Lisa Lapointe, chief investigator for the British Columbia Department of Forensic Medicine, said last week in a statement 486 “sudden and unexpected deaths” were reported in the last six days of June.
“While it is too early to say for sure how many of these heat-related deaths are,” Lapointe said, “the significant increase in reported deaths is believed to be attributable to the severe weather experienced in British Columbia and continues to affect many parts. from our province.
Between June 25 and July 1, the Forensic Service said, Total number of deaths 719 reported, which is three times the number expected for the same period.
The US is also being hit hard by the heat, with the Northwest and North Central US feeling extreme temperatures. Many areas are still experiencing temperatures in the 90s and into the hundreds, according to National Weather Service.