clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Our entire town is gone’: This Canadian town was hot and dry. Now it’s on fire

First, they recorded the hottest temperatures of the heat wave, now they are evacuating from a wildfire

The smoke from dozens of wildfires that have been raging across the western United States has now drifted across North America.
The sun appears orange through wildfire smoke, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in Olympia, Wash.
Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

“It’s dire. The whole town is on fire,” Jan Polderman, the mayor of Lytton, British Colombia, told CBC.

For the small town of Lytton located in western Canada, this week has been unprecedented, reports BBC. For three days in a row, Lytton recorded the highest temperatures in Canada — ever.

  • Wednesday evening, all 250 Lytton residents were forced to flee their homes as a wildfire engulfed the entire town, says CNN.
  • The wildfire is out of control and has already destroyed the entire town, says CBC.

How hot were temperatures in Lytton, Canada?

Lytton has been hit by the extreme heat wave stretching across the northwest U.S. and southwest Canada, says CNN. Reports of heat-related deaths have continued to grow.

  • Temperatures in Lytton reached just over 121 degrees Fahrenheit, reports BBC.
  • This is the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada.

Between the hot temperatures, dryness and gusty winds, Lytton’s weather conditions put it at extreme risk of wildfire, says BBC.

How severe is the wildfire?

“It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere,” Polderman said to CBC.

  • Wednesday evening, Polderman issued an emergency evacuation order, reports CNN.
  • All 250 residents of Lytton fled as well as more than 80 people living just north of the town, says CBC.
  • Residents had very little time to evacuate, many leaving their belongings as they fled in order to make it out in time, BBC reports.

“The fire was a wall about three, four feet high coming up to the fence line. I drove through town and it was just smoke, flames, the wires were down,” Polderman described to CBC.

According to reports from Lytton residents, black smoke and ash filled the air, making visibility incredibly poor. One resident even reported hearing an explosion while leaving, reports Yahoo News.

  • So far, no deaths have been reported.

What happens now?

Nearby cities have set up reception centers to welcome evacuees, reports CNN. Firefighters in the area have still not determined the cause or size of the blaze. The Lytton wildfire is one of several out-of-control wildfires in the area.

  • One Lytton evacuee, Edith Loring-Kuhanga, told CBC that “you can’t even comprehend it. Our entire town is gone.”