Ottawa is preparing to send reinforcements to British Columbia facing a hundred fires added to the unprecedented heat wave ravaging Western Canada and the United States, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday (July 2).
As of late afternoon, 143 fires were active in the province, including 77 in the past two days, according to a map from the provincial government.
“We will be there to help BC and across the country”, promised Mr. Trudeau, during a press briefing, in particular “To help rebuild”.
The Canadian village of Lytton, some 250 km northeast of Vancouver, now famous for having this week set a national heat record of 49.6 ° C, has burned 90%. The 250 residents had been evacuated Wednesday evening due to a fire that spread very quickly. In total, about a thousand people were evacuated Wednesday evening in the province.
A resident of Lytton, Jeff Chapman, told the English channel CBC to have seen, helplessly, his parents die in this fire when an electric pole had just fallen on the shelter in which they were.
“Climate change has devastating impacts”
“Our thoughts are with the grieving families, who face terrible losses”, Trudeau said. “We can see very clearly that extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent. We cannot ignore the fact that climate change has devastating impacts across the planet ”, he stressed.
Justin Trudeau met with several ministers from the “Incident response group” about the extreme weather conditions in British Columbia and the fires raging in western Canada.
He spoke with the mayor of Lytton, the village’s First Nation chief and BC Premier John Horgan, who on Thursday asked for backup from the federal government.
“The past twenty-four hours have been devastating for the residents of Lytton. Our @ForcesCanada [Forces armées canadiennes] are ready to help residents ”, confirmed the Canadian Minister of Defense, Harjit Sajjan, on Twitter.
On Friday, the heat wave continued in the prairies of central Canada. In addition to British Columbia, heat wave warnings have been issued for the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, as well as part of the Northwest Territories, and now northern Ontario.