Heat wave and forest fires ravage Western Canada

Forest fires are raging across Western Canada as a record-breaking heat wave in the region sparks a surge in lightning strikes.

British Columbia and western Alberta suffered over 700,000 lightning strikes from Wednesday to Thursday, up nearly tenfold from a year ago.

Lytton, which broke Canada's heat record with a temperature of over 121 degrees Fahrenheit this week, suffered a forest fire Wednesday which burned the town to the ground, and caused two deaths.

The heat wave is believed to have created high levels of moisture in the atmosphere, fuelling fierce thunderstorms.

Frequent lightning strikes caused over 130 forest fires across central British Columbia.

Officials say they are expected to burn through nearly 250,000 acres by the end of this weekend, a rare occurrence as the region’s forest fire season usually starts in late July.

As firefighters scramble to tame the flames, over 1,300 homes have been ordered to evacuate. It is uncertain how many people are currently missing.

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