Lytton, Canada

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This article is published in Vanity Fair issue 28-29 on newsstands until July 20, 2021

Edith L. was home on Fraser Street at the computer for a meeting on Zoom. The fire broke out towards the end of the street and the fire grew rapidly. They called her on the phone to tell her to leave immediately. He had a suitcase ready for a planned trip, but in his haste he just took the computer. Just outside, there was an explosion. She came in, she went out again. Our poor little town, Edith says, is gone now. It took fifteen minutes to destroy it. The community has lost everything, thousands of people are miraculously saved. They lined up by car to reach nearby towns, after a stop at a school where salmon sandwiches and bottles of water were distributed.

A temperature of 49.6 degrees was recorded in Lytton last week. It’s a record for the Northeast Vancouver area. In the region, hundreds of people lost their lives in the extreme heat wave. While being interviewed on the radio, Edith burst into tears. There are those who have lost friends and relatives, like Jeff C .: his parents took shelter in a hole dug in the ground as the city started to burn, the situation worsened, they could not save themselves. Ely M. didn’t even have a T-shirt on, he managed to catch his dogs and escape. The smoke prevented us from seeing even a few meters away. Together with the houses, the citizens of Lytton have lost precious family memories, signs, the history of generations. Nannette P. left her workplace at five in the afternoon, as the smell of smoke reached her nostrils, without knowing where her family members were. The phone lines are down. Thus she left her city, certain that when she returned she would never find the house in which she grew up.

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