Emergency services say they there are now trying to control more than 170 fires across the province of British Columbia. Evacuation orders are in place in several areas and military teams are due to arrive in the coming days. Earlier in the week, people had to flee the village of Lytton.
Lytton, which recorded Canada’s highest ever temperature of 49.6C (121.3F) on Tuesday, was destroyed by fire. The blaze in the village – about 260km (160 miles) north-east of Vancouver – forced many of its 250 residents to leave without their belongings on Wednesday evening. “Within about 15 minutes the whole town was engulfed in flames,” Mayor Jan Polderman told the BBC.
Abnormally high temperatures have been recorded in swathes of North America in recent days. Experts say that climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heatwaves. However, linking any single event to global warming is complicated. Cliff Chapman, director of provincial operations for British Columbia Wildfire Service, told broadcaster CBC that about 12,000 lightning strikes had been recorded on Friday, many of them near Kamloops, north-east of Vancouver.