Heat Wave Spreads Fire That Wiped Lytton, British Columbia

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TORONTO – Something strange was happening to the acacia trees in Lytton, British Columbia.

Small town in western Canada, over three days temperature Each rose to 121 degrees, breaking national temperature records by June 30. That morning at the Lytton Museum of Chinese History, Lorna Fandrich noticed the green leaves falling from the trees surrounding the building and apparently could not tolerate the heat.

Hours later, Lytton was on fire. Officials said the town, a less than 300 village nestled between mountain ranges and prone to hot summers, was consumed by flames that destroyed 90 percent of the town, killed two and injured several.

Investigators are investigating whether local rail traffic was responsible for starting the fire, which was blazed by the heat, amid temperatures that climate researchers say is nearly impossible without it. human-induced global warming.

He said the village was nearly unrecognizable on Friday when a road was finally cleared of overturned power lines, bricks and other debris to make way for five buses taking residents to tour the town.

Distorted piles of metal and formless wood protruded from the collapsed buildings. The remaining brick walls were often filled with black burn marks.

Matilda and Peter Brown found their home destroyed and only the skeleton of a traditional Indian hut used to dry salmon remains.

“That was our home,” said Mrs. Brown in tears. “It was our sanctuary. We have no place now,” he said.

exploding extreme heat wave At the end of June, widespread wildfires across much of the Pacific Northwest created a massive increase in heat-related deaths and environmental devastation that wiped out millions of coastal wildlife.

Lytton was hit particularly hard in temperatures ranging from 116 to 121 degrees. The fire left displaced residents and neighboring Indigenous communities to wonder what could be saved among the ashes.

Lytton village, “Where many buildings are now just charred earth” I said In a statement dated 6 July.

Mr Brown of Lytton First Nation lost one of the family’s heirloom cedar baskets and some personal documents hidden in a gun safe.

Ms. Brown is a member of the Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation near the neighboring town of Lillooet, where she led an addiction advisory group at the time of the fire. She said she took time off from work to deal with this “nightmare”.

“I don’t want to be a wounded healer,” he added.

On June 30, a dramatic scene ensued when “someone knocked on office windows hours later” to warn town staff about the fire, the village. Declaration I said. The mayor ordered a full evacuation as volunteer firefighters tried to control the roaring fire in dry conditions.

in height heat waveMore than 90 crew members flew to British Columbia to assist the bushfire service, battling thousands of acres of flames in harsh conditions for overheating equipment. Sudden deaths also increased sharply due to the heat. Emergency responders attended the 777 reported to the provincial courthouse between June 25 and July 1, more than triple the number in the same period last year.

heat wave In Canada, it presented an additional public health concern as authorities are still grappling with the challenge of the coronavirus and Canadians are starting to enjoy some of the pleasures of summer as restrictions ease.

Gordon Murray, head of Two Rivers Farmers Market in Lytton, said the feelings of grief, sadness, anger and disappointment on his bus on Friday were “overwhelming”.

Even more worrying was how local the fire was, he said. He and his partner have lived in Lytton for nearly a decade and could see their chimney and white fireplace from their vantage point on the bus. They also lost a cat in the fire.

“One of the strange things about it is that the town was wiped out,” Mr. Murray said. “There’s literally an occasional chimney stack as a kind of exclamation point to the fact that the town has been completely destroyed.”

On July 8, ten animal welfare workers were allowed to rescue a pet and livestock behind the evacuation perimeter. Forty-one animals were rescued and evaluated before being reunited with their owners, said Lorie Chortyk, spokesperson for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ms. Fandrich, the owner of the museum, said: “She chose not to join the tour because it would be too emotional and I think we will wait until they let them drop us off individually.”

Although he is not of Chinese heritage, he opened the museum in 2017 to recognize the contributions and history of Chinese workers in British Columbia, modeling a traditional temple that once existed in that land. It housed more than 1,600 artifacts, books and archives, all lost in the fire. The town’s history museum also burned down.

“We have lost two fundamental pieces of our history,” said Ms. Fandrich. “So they’re all gone.”

The nearby homes of his two sons were razed to the ground. Her daughter’s cage was also destroyed.

The severity of the scorching fires on nearly 1.7 million acres, reported by Canada’s natural resources agency, occurred at temperatures exceeding what researchers had seen in previous heatwaves, according to a recent study. analysis by an international team of climate researchers.

On the state’s Salish Sea coast, Christopher Harley, a marine biologist and professor at the University of British Columbia studies the passage of heatwaves along the coastline and estimates there are billions. During a beach visit on Friday, he said the crackling of dead mussels under his feet was a somber reminder of the devastation in wildlife.

“You start adding oysters, mussels, starfish and snails,” he said. “The real number, whatever it is, will be almost incomprehensible.”

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