Fire guts Canadian town after days of record heat

A forest fire that ignited after days of record-breaking temperatures has destroyed most of the small western Canadian town of Lytton.

That's according to local politician Brad Vis on Thursday, which also marks the Canada Day holiday.

Vis said in a Facebook post, "The town has sustained structural damage and 90% of the village is burned, including the center of town."

Lytton, in central British Columbia, this week broke Canada's all-time hottest temperature record three times, hitting 121 degrees Fahrenheit, or 49 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.

Late on Wednesday, the Mayor said the 'whole town' was on fire.

More than a thousand people in and around the town were then forced to evacuate.

The extreme heat has punished residents far and wide.

At least 486 sudden deaths were reported in the province of BC over five hot days.

That's nearly three times the usual number, according to officials.

An unprecedented heatwave has also left a rising death toll in its wake in the northwest United States.

Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington, says people often underestimate the danger of high temperatures.

"Most people don't think about heat as a killer. And it is and we know that the numbers are fairly high. Estimates of the number of excess heat-related deaths in counties that cover just 62 percent of our population suggests that five and a half thousand Americans die every year from the heat. Certainly the event we've seen, we're going to see excess deaths a lot more than we should have because all of those deaths could have been prevented. So we have to raise that awareness."

In Oregon, where 63 deaths have so far been linked to the heatwave, Governor Kate Brown this week declared a state of emergency.

While the Portland Fire Department banned the use of fireworks for the Fourth of July weekend.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting