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Canadian town of Lytton evacuated, homes destroyed by wildfire

Homes and other structures in the Canadian town of Lytton were destroyed after the approximately 250 residents were forced to evacuate due to a wildfire. Screencapture/CBC/YouTube
Homes and other structures in the Canadian town of Lytton were destroyed after the approximately 250 residents were forced to evacuate due to a wildfire. Screencapture/CBC/YouTube

July 1 (UPI) -- Residents in the small Canadian town of Lytton were forced to evacuate as a wildfire swept through the area amid record-breaking heat earlier this week.

Mayor Jan Polderman ordered the approximately 250 residents of the town in the western province of British Columbia to evacuate on Wednesday evening as fires swept in.

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"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."

Lytton on Tuesday broke the all-time Canadian heat record three days in a row with the 121.1 degrees Fahrenheit it reached being hotter than Las Vegas' all-time record of 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

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More than 230 people in British Colombia died last weekend amid the historic heatwave.

Mike Farnworth, British Columbia's public safety minister and solicitor general, said the fire destroyed most homes and structures in Lytton and that some residents were unaccounted for.

"This has been a very difficult day and the days ahead are going to challenge us," Farnworth said.

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British Columbia Premier John Horgan said he spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said he would provide assistance to Lytton.

"Lytton has been devastated and it will take an extraordinary amount of effort to get that historic location back to what it was," he said.

Officials on Thursday said the cause of the fire was under investigation and Horgan added he had "anecdotal information" regarding reports the blaze was sparked by a train passing through the town.

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Horgan further warned that the fire risk throughout the province remained "extreme" as 62 new fires and 29,000 lightning strikes were reported in the past 24 hours.

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