Evacuations ordered as wildfires cross the west coast of Canada News

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Residents in various parts of British Columbia have been ordained evacuation as forest fires occur throughout the Canadian province a record heat wave which officials say contributed to hundreds of deaths.

Around noon on Saturday, 176 active fires were considered across BC, including 76 that were reported over the past two days, according to a BC Wildfire Service dashboard.

“Overall, we’re three weeks ahead of our drying cycle,” Cliff Chapman, director of regional operations for the BC Wildfire Service, told reporters Friday afternoon. reported by CBC News.

“It’s not really comparable to past seasons just because of the heat wave that took place in June.”

Chapman said about 12,000 lightning strikes were reported across the province on Thursday alone, CTV News also reported. reported.

The fires come after Canada’s westernmost province experienced record temperatures during the past week, with the village of Lytton, about 275 km (170 miles) northeast of Vancouver, inland BC, destroying the national record for several days in a row.

Lytton ordered an evacuation of the entire community after huge fires broke out this week, forcing residents to flee. At least two people have died, local media reported.

“There was a big panic,” said John Haugen, acting head of the Lytton First Nation. reported by CBC. “It exploded and ended everything in its path.”

On Friday evening, Canadian National Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said the federal government was establishing an emergency response base in Edmonton, Alberta, to help respond to wildfires.

“We will position more air resources in Edmonton as soon as possible, including a Hercules aircraft and two medium-altitude Chinook helicopters. They can be used to provide airlift for firefighters and equipment inside and outside the affected areas and support evacuations of residents, ”Sajjan said on Twitter.

The BC government has also announced disaster financial assistance for local governments and first nations that have been affected by the flames.

“As the Prime Minister said yesterday, the provincial and federal governments will be there to help Lytton rebuild the community,” Mike Farnworth, public safety minister and attorney general, said in a statement.

Experts have pointed this out climate change as an engine the first season of wildfires and recent heat, which meteorologists said was related to the so-called “heat dome” (a weather system that traps hot air) that descended to the west and north coasts -west Pacific of the United States.

Officials and residents continue to fight the effects of the heat.

BC chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said Friday that 719 deaths were recorded between June 25 and July 1, three times more than would normally occur in a similar period. He said many of the deaths occurred among elderly people living alone in private residences with minimal ventilation.

“We are releasing this information as it is believed that the extreme weather that BC experienced last week is an important factor contributing to the increase in the number of deaths,” Lapointe said in a statement.

A bonfire burns outside the town of Lytton, where it crossed and forced everyone to evacuate, to British Columbia, on July 1. [Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters]

“Some parts of the province continue to experience unusually high temperatures, and it is still important that we take great care to avoid the dangerous effects of intense heat. Please look for family, friends and neighbors, especially those living alone. “

Colton Davies, a journalist for Radio NL News in Kamloops, BC, said the situation is “very, very serious.”

“Where I am in Kamloops, there are several major, out-of-control, large-scale fires that are burning outside the city limits,” Davies told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

“In the last four days or so, as we speak, more than 75,000 hectares of forest [have] it has been lost alone in these devastating forest fires ”.





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