Regional officials ordered the evacuation of the community of Lytton, B.C., Wednesday evening, just one day after the village shattered the record for highest temperature ever recorded in Canada for three consecutive days.
It came as the 350-hectare George Road fire swept towards the community.
Pictures and video posted to social media showed thick smoke clogging the community, and several buildings were reported to be on fire.
Properties in two other B.C. communities were under evacuation orders Wednesday as wildfires flared up amid a record-breaking heat wave.
Officials with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued evacuation orders for 136 properties in the Bonaparte Plateau and Copper Desert Country areas northwest of Kamloops due to the Sparks Lake fire, which has grown to an estimated 4,000 hectares (40 square kilometres).
Nearly 450 additional properties in the Deadman, Red Lake, Tranquille Valley, Vidette Lake, Loon Lake and Hihium Lake areas were under evacuation alerts.
The BC Wildfire Service said 56 firefighters and 10 helicopters were working the fire, which is suspected to be human caused and was generating smoke visible from Kamloops.
As of today at noon, campfires are prohibited throughout the province of British Columbia. Please note, the current prohibitions do not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated devices.
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 30, 2021
On Tuesday, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District issued an evacuation order for multiple properties north of Lillooet and west of the Fraser River in the Pavillion Road area due to the 5,000 hectare (50 square kilometre) McKay Creek fire.
Twenty-four firefighters and four helicopters were on scene. The fire is also suspected to be human-caused.
Crews were also called to two new fires near Big White in the Okanagan, which were burning in close proximity and believed to be about 300 hectares in size, combined.
The flare-up in wildfire activity comes as the province continues to reel from an unprecedented heat wave, which saw Lytton, B.C., shatter the all-time temperature record for Canada on three consecutive days.
While the extreme peaks of the heat wave appeared to have passed, hot, dry weather remains in the forecast, along with the possibility for thunderstorms in the interior, which could lead to lightning strikes, along with strong winds.
A province-wide campfire ban was implemented at noon on Wednesday.
Experts have warned that the province’s “extreme” fire danger rating is reminiscent of what B.C. saw in August 2017 and 2018, both historic years for wildfires.
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