A day after a village in British Columbia saw Canada’s highest recorded temperature, the residents of Lytton have been ordered to evacuate due to a wildfire.
Mayor Jan Polderman issued the evacuation order late Wednesday, according to a news release from the Village of Lytton. “All residents are advised to leave the community and go to a safe location,” it said.
“It’s dire. The whole town is on fire,” Polderman told CBC News. “It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere.”
“At the First Nation band office, 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 told the Canadian broadcast network.
DriveBC, which provides information on driving conditions in the province, is reporting that two wildfires have closed highways to the north and south of Lytton.
In a tweet early Thursday, the BC Wildfire Service said it was responding to the “evolving situation” in Lytton by assisting the village’s fire service.
The nearby city of Merritt has opened a reception center for evacuees from Lytton, according to its Facebook page.
Temperatures in Lytton climbed to 121° F (49.5° C) on Tuesday, the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. It was the third day in a row that records were smashed in the area, according to ECCC Weather British Columbia.
There are currently 67 fires burning in British Columbia and 44 of those have begun in the last two days, according to the B.C. Wildfire Dashboard.
To date, the province has experienced 450 fires this year, it said.
The extreme temperatures have had devastating impact on the province as more the 230 deaths have been reported in British Columbia since Friday, officials said Tuesday.
The province’s chief coroner called it an “unprecedented time.”
“Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory,” Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.