Wildfires continue to spread throughout western Canada since last week due to lightning strikes. Emergency services have put out more than 170 fires across British Columbia. Several regions have also issued evacuation orders, and military forces are expected to arrive in the coming days. Locals from Lytton have evacuated after the village was destroyed by the fire. Meanwhile, 250 individuals were forced to leave their homes on Wednesday evening, June 30, without their belongings. On Tuesday, June 29, the town had the highest recorded temperature in Canada, reaching 49.6°C (121.3°F). Mayor Jan Polderman said that the fire engulfed Lytton in roughly 15 minutes.

According to British Columbia Wildfire Service’s provincial operations director Cliff Chapman, they recorded 12,000 lightning strikes near Kamloops, northeast of Vancouver. Experts explained that climate change contributes to the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like heat waves. Moreover, Canada’s health officials suspect that intense heat may have been the cause of 719 sudden deaths in recent weeks. Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Defence Minister, promises to send helicopters and soldiers to help the affected areas. The British Columbia Wildfire Service is expecting more wildfires throughout the weekend.