Lytton, a town in British Columbia, battled three days of flames that forced all residents flee. The damage is believed to be substantial, prompting a firefighter to post a picture of the blaze on the social media forum Reddit.
The photo, a before-and-after edited together, shows blackened trees and destroyed houses, a barren wasteland compared to its previous green leaved trees and fully intact buildings in the Fraser Canyon town.
The shocking before-and-after photo was shared on Twitter by CBC journalist Justin McElroy, with the caption, “Lytton’s Main Street, before and after yesterday’s devastating fire.”
Mayor Jan Polderman told the BBC he was fortunate to get away safely, saying “there won’t be very much left of Lytton”, as the fire was “everywhere”.
Local resident Edith Loring-Kuhanga said to CBC Radio, “It’s just unbelievable. You can’t even comprehend it. Our entire town is gone.”
According a press conference held by Mike Farnworth, Public Safety Minister on 1 July, all of the town’s buildings, including the hospital, where impacted the fire.
Every building in the town was impacted by the fire, according to public safety minister Mike Farnworth. Some people remain unaccounted for.
An elderly couple is believed to have died, according to the Vancouver Sun.
The fire followed record-breaking temperatures in Lytton, where it hit 49C on Tuesday, after hitting 46.6C and 47.5C on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Officials are saying the cause of the fire is currently unknown.
The British Columbia Coroner said that 486 deaths have been recorded, which is triple the usual rate, attributing the spike to the heatwave.
“It is believed likely that the significant increase in deaths reported is attributable to the extreme weather BC has experienced and continues to impact many parts of our province,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.
The US Pacific Northwest has also been impacted by this phenomenon, with states such as Washington, Oregon and California experiencing record temperatures. Infrastructure, such as transport links, have proved unable to cope and Olympic qualifiers have been delayed, among other issues caused by the punishing heat.