Canada heatwave: Evacuations as wildfire and smoke engulfs British Columbia

Credit: BC Wildfire Service

A fast-moving wildfire that has engulfed British Columbia amid an unprecedented heatwave has caused residents to evacuate their homes and livelihoods.

Footage captured from driver Ashley Godoy, who was forced to flee her town, shows roads shrouded in smoke.

Authorities have pointed to the climate crisis, but linking a single event to global warming is difficult.

The extreme temperatures have been driven, in part, by a so-called heat dome of static high-pressure hot air sitting above the areas.

Dramatic footage shows fast-moving wildfire spreading toward Canadian town

This causes hot air to sink down, warming more and more as it goes, and settling in the areas below it.

The heat dome across western Canada and the US has been linked to more than 480 sudden deaths and has caused severe disruption.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe addressed the concerns in a statement, saying: "While it is too early to say with certainty how many of these deaths are heat related, 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."

A woman films the smoke from the mountains as she says her home has been burned

Over the past few days, Lytton repeatedly broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada, reaching a scorching 49.6 C on Tuesday.

A raging wildfire began spreading near the town on Wednesday night and residents were forced to flee after the town’s mayor issued a mandatory evacuation order for the small community.

Footage reveals British Columbia engulfed in clouds of smoke from wildfires

"It’s dire - the whole town is on fire…It’s bad, I’ve never seen anything like this," the town’s mayor, Jan Polderman told broadcaster CNBC.

Hot, dry and winds of up to 45 miles per hour (71km/h) were fanning the flames that engulfed Lytton, according to local reports.

US President Joe Biden said earlier this week that climate change was driving the heat wave that has also smashed all-time high temperature records across the US Northwest.