Heatwave Kills 486 in British Columbia, Shatters Records

The record breaking heat wave that broke Canada’s national record for highest temperature claimed at least 486 lives. “Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory,” Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement. The coroners are now gathering information to determine the cause and manner of deaths and whether heat played a role.

Monday temperatures across portions of Oregon. Notice the cooler weather coming from the Pacific Ocean, signaling a cooldown. Image Credit NWS Portland.

The town of Lytton in British Columbia erased the Canada’s highest temperature record three times in a week and it now stands at 49.6°C (121.28°F). 82 other areas broke highest temperature records, with most located in Alberta and British Columbia. Portland, Oregon set an all-time record-high temperature for three times in a row, reaching as high as 116°F (46.67°C). Seattle also set a new record at 108°F (42.22°C)

Fire broke in British Columbia during heat wave. Residents of Fraser Canyon and Lytoon have been ordered to evacuate as fast-moving wildfire swept in on Wednesday evening. Erica Berg, a provincial fire information officer, said the evacuation order was issued about an hour after the blaze began but she did not know the size or the cause of it. She said the B.C. Wildfire Service is diverting crews and equipment from other areas to respond to the fire. A local report said residents of Lytton were fleeing the town in any direction they could. Most of Alberta and large parts of British Columbia and Saskatchewan are at extreme risk of wildfires, according to Natural Resources Canada’s fire weather map.

 

Cities across Western States are banning fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July weekend amid fears that pyrotechnics could spark wildfires during a heat wave. Authorities warn that the combination of record-high temperatures, extreme drought conditions, and at-home fireworks creates a tinderbox-like situation that could quickly turn devastating. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” the Portland fire chief, Sara Boone, said in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national holiday, but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.”

Warm temperatures are likely to contiune across the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain areas, signaling only slight relief.

Sources:

“B.C. Records 486 Sudden Deaths, Almost Triple the Usual Number, during Heat Wave | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 30 June 2021, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sudden-deaths-heat-wave-b-c-1.6086770.

Canada, Natural Resources. “Fire Weather Maps.” Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, cwfis.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/maps/fw.

Article Written by Justine, Edited and Formatted by Preston Schenk

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