Fire-ravaged British Columbia sees “12,000 Lightning Strikes” in a day
At least 174 fires were active in the western province of British Columbia, 78 of them sparked in the last two days, officials said. Most were caused by intense lightning storms. The fires were north of the city of Kamloops, 350 kilometers (220 miles) northeast of Vancouver.
“We saw 12,000 lightning strikes, roughly, on Saturday,” said Cliff Chapman, the Director of Provincial Operations for British Columbia Wildfire Service, according to public broadcaster the CBC. “Many of those lightning strikes were hitting near communities, (as) was seen in the Kamloops area.”
Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years on record have all occurred since 2012, according to climate.gov.
“The dry conditions and the extreme heat in British Columbia are unprecedented,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday. “These wildfires show that we are in the earliest stages of what promises to be a long and challenging summer.”
Roughly 1,000 people have fled the wildfires in British Columbia, with many others still missing.
The British Columbia medical examiner’s office said there had been 719 deaths in the past week, “three times more” than the average number recorded over the period.
“The heat wave continued to spread across central Canada on Saturday, also affecting the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as parts of the Northwest Territories and northern Ontario. British Columbia also warned of flooding from melting mountain snowcaps and glaciers. Further south, the US states of Washington and Oregon have also suffered record temperatures. – HINDUSTAN TIMES