How the fire engulfed the village of Lytton, which was living in the midst of temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius.

How the fire engulfed the village of Lytton, which was living in the midst of temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius.

What is left of Lytton? Sadly, this small town in British Columbia, Canada, is making headlines. city ​​mayor, Jan Boldermann told the local press that he would have liked her to make headlines because of the quality of life there. But after smashing Canada’s heat record, as well as the heat record for a town beyond 45 degrees north latitude, flirting with 50 degrees Celsius, Lytton may have disappeared from the map on Thursday, July 1.

Franceinfo recalls descending into the inferno of a small town with no history, a sudden victim of climate change.

Monday 28 June: Temperature record on the horizon

Lytton is home to 249 spirits. This small village in British Columbia, About 260 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, it makes headlines. This Monday, I just broke a record in the heat: 46.6 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. The old record was broken – 45 ° C, taken at two stations in Saskatchewan in 1937. Environment Canada issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. But the agency is already warning thatHigh pressures trapping hot air in the region are expected to set new records during the week.

Lytton is a small country town, surrounded by mountains, at the confluence of two rivers. Known in the area for rafting enthusiasts, but also a “hot spot”, a hot spot, where in summer it is common to exceed 40 degrees Celsius at times. But this time, a “thermal dome” erected over the American Northwest is cooking up the Wild West. A new bushfire broke out on Monday north of Kamloops, 200 km to the east.

Tuesday, June 29: 49.5°C by thermometer

The record was broken the day before. even sprayed. At Lytton weather station, mercury is now 49.5 degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, the Lake Sparks fire took less than 24 hours to spread over 2,300 hectares, causing the evacuation of 150 properties, he writes. local press*. Wherever they work, firefighters have to deal with these exceptional circumstances. Helicopter engines are overheating and the machines, under pressure, have difficulty moving as much water as necessary. “Smoke is visible from Kamloops and nearby villages”, Continue News 1130. So Lytton, Jan Boldermann, the village’s mayor, urges his constituents to be careful: Due to the drought and extreme heat, the slightest cigarette butt is likely to set the area ablaze.

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The few fires in the area have already seriously deteriorated air quality. In response to a question from News 1130, the mayor confirmed that the majority of residents are isolated in their homes. the conditions “Unbearable”, He explains to humans who seek shade as soon as they are out, as in vegetation: “We are seeing what rising temperatures are doing to the global warming of trees and shrubs, explains in 1130 . news. Leaves curl, the sun burns them. During the day, trees collapse under the influence of heat. That’s not good.”

The The George Road fire, 7km south of Lytton, is also growing. Started on June 16, it has acquired an area of ​​close to 350 hectares. New fire, forest fire County Creek, also attributed to a human cause, appeared just north of Lytton. When the chain mentions it, it is “only” 1.5 hectares. In the village, where we’re suffocating, we hope the temperatures drop a little.

In a few hours, you’ll pick up a little wind. It will allow you to lose a few degrees. But it will also lead Lytton to his downfall.

Wednesday 30 June: 15 minutes to leave town

The eviction order fell in the evening: in a letter to his constituents, the mayor of Lytton, Jan Poldermann, asked them to leave the city and take cover. “It’s very dangerous. The whole town is on fire, announced in CBC News, national media. Fifteen minutes passed between the first sign of smoke and suddenly flames everywhere.” Head south towards the small town of Boston Bar. In this chaos, others joined Lilluit in the north or Merritt in the east. For several days the firefighters have been facing two forest fires, but this is the third fire, announced at the end of the afternoon, that has taken this small community by surprise.

This is “Everywhere you look.” Everywhere flames. In Lytton, Pine scattered on the road, Shops and cars parked in the street billowing with smoke, as seen in a video clip carried by the local press and released by fleeing residents.

When the fire broke out, city authorities asked Edith Loring Kohanga, the school’s principal, to set up a meeting point there. But the speed with which the flames spread did not give him time. In the middle of a caravan of cars carrying a hundred inhabitants, I finally escaped for Lilluette. “There is nothing left of our city”, She regrets, questioned by CBC Radio. “We are all in shock.” We didn’t have time to think., Robert Leach, an elected mayor, abounds, citing Global News. “Just collect things, put them in the car, alert the neighbors and leave.”. And so Dottie Phillips can thank another resident’s generosity. “If he hadn’t come [nous dire de partir], 15-20 minutes later we were home when it caught fire, ” Says.

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Jane McKay also suddenly left her home in Kanaka Bar, a First Nations community about fifteen kilometers from Lytton. There is no time to pack up, although her daughter in a hurry kept a photo of her grandfather. “I don’t even know why I’m taking my keys,” she said., Says world news, Convinced that there will be no more homes to find when all this is over. With her mother, two daughters, and a granddaughter, Jane took refuge in Boston Bar, at the establishment where she works as a cleaning manager.

In Merit, the reception is organized. On Twitter, the city council is trying to direct evacuees from Lytton to accommodations. In these rural communities, it is also necessary to prepare for the reception of livestock to help farmers whose farms have been engulfed by fire. Hotels give way to Lytton neighbours, in coordination with the Red Cross, while individuals open their doors, as in Ashcroft, reports say. News 1130. But to Merit, The authorities are asking the residents from “Keep the people of Layton in their prayers and thoughts” Instead of interfering, “At this stage”.

A new fire has broken out in McKay Creek, near the town of Lillooet, north of Lytton. local media 1130 . news He explains that extreme heat and drought are the cause of the start of the new fire. Quickly, it is uncontrollable and spreads over an area of ​​more than 5,000 hectares, becoming the largest fire in the region. May Webster, Head of Environmental, Health and Safety Services for neighboring Merritt, confirms: “Lytton Hospital, Main Street and the ambulance station have burned down. We feel that a lot of the locals have moved south, as it is impossible to leave Lytton from the north at this point.”, she said to Radio Language Q101 FM.

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Thursday 1 July: Catastrophe Inventory

The dawn of the day on Merit. Nobody knows what is left of the village of Lytton. “We fear that the small village in British Columbia has been destroyed (…). There is a fear that some have not been able to get out.”, journalist Monica Jules tweeted right away. In a reception center, she interrogates the victims. “A lot of people couldn’t even talk to their wives or husbands. They don’t know what happened to them,” One of the survivors is entrusted to him.

Four firefighters and a car took the road to Lytton to immediately help their colleagues. British Columbia firefighters were also mobilized. But with temperatures often staying above 40°C and dry vegetation, it’s hard to contain the flames.

It’s impossible to know if Lytton broke a new record on this tragic day. The weather station stopped sending its information. She, too, may have gone into smoke.

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