Wildfires have continued to spread across western Canada since last week due to lightning strikes in the area. Emergency services have been extinguishing more than 170 fires across British Columbia. Authorities have issued evacuation orders in several regions, and military forces are expected to arrive in the following days. Residents from Lytton have fled the village after the fire destroyed the town. Meanwhile, 250 people were forced to leave without their belongings on Wednesday evening, June 30. Lytton had the highest recorded temperature on Tuesday, June 29 in the entire country, hitting 49.6°C (121.3°F). According to Mayor Jan Polderman, the flames engulfed the whole town in a span of approximately 15 minutes.

British Columbia Wildfire Service’s provincial operations director Cliff Chapman reported 12,000 lightning strikes near Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver. Experts explain that climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves. In addition, health officials have pointed out that intense heat may have been the cause of 719 sudden fatalities in the previous weeks. Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan promises to provide aid such as military helicopters and personnel to the affected areas. The British Columbia Wildfire Service is expecting more wildfires over the weekend.