Around 100 fires continued to rage in western Canada and California on Friday, adding to an unprecedented heat wave that left hundreds dead.
As of Friday evening, the number of fires continued to rise in British Columbia to 152, with 89 in the past two days. These fires were noted in particular north of the city of Kamloops, located 350 km northeast of Vancouver.
A thousand people were evacuated Thursday in the province, where a wildfire has burned nearly 90% of the village of Lytton.
Over 700 dead
Experts believe this heat wave, which triggered heatwave alerts in areas where millions of people live and claimed nearly 700 lives in Canada and at least 16 in the United States, was caused by global warming climate.
Armed forces will be able to provide logistical support and air resources will also be deployed. “The dry conditions and the extreme heat in British Columbia are unprecedented,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said during a press briefing, anticipating a “long and difficult summer”.
The village of Lytton, some 250 km northeast of Vancouver, now famous for having this week set a national heat record of 49.6 ° Celsius, has been 90% destroyed. The 250 residents had been evacuated Wednesday evening due to a fire that spread very quickly. The evacuation order was then extended, overnight Wednesday to Thursday, to residents of a hundred properties north of Lytton.
Extreme risk and exceptional duration
“I can only stress that the risk of fire is currently extreme in almost all parts of British Columbia and I urge British Columbians to listen carefully to authorities and follow directions,” he said. begged the Premier of the province John Horgan.
On Friday, the heat wave continued in the prairies of central Canada. “The dangerous long-term heatwave will persist” and will continue to cause “very hot” weather for the “next two days”, predicted Environment Canada, Friday at the end of the day, in several bulletins concerning regions of British Columbia.
“The duration of this heat wave is worrying, because there is little respite from the heat at night due to the high night temperatures”, according to the same source.
15,000 hectares devoured in California
The US states of Washington and Oregon, across the border, also suffocated this week in record temperatures.
Hundreds of firefighters were working on Friday to contain three forest fires that devoured more than 15,000 hectares in northern California. Authorities have ordered evacuations along Lake Shasta, an area popular with campers south of the Oregon border, and around 40 structures have been destroyed, including at least half a dozen homes near Lakehead.
More than 500 lightning bolts have been recorded in California in the past 24 hours, threatening to cause more fires to start.