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Heat wave now linked to sudden deaths in Burnaby: RCMP

June 29, 2021 - 1:30 PM

The RCMP say a sweltering heat wave that has settled over Western Canada for several days is believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of 25 sudden-death calls the Mounties have responded to since Monday in Burnaby, B.C.

Cpl. Mike Kalanj says the calls relate to a single 24-hour period and the deaths are still under investigation.

Environment Canada says temperatures in the Vancouver area reached just under 32 C Monday, but the humidity made it feel close to 40 C in areas that aren't near water.

The record-breaking heat wave could ease over parts of British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories by Wednesday, but any reprieve for the Prairie provinces is further off.

Kalanj says "many of the deceased" in Burnaby were seniors.

In a news release, he urged residents to check on their neighbours and family members.

“We are seeing this weather can be deadly for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues," he says in the statement.

Environment Canada says the "historic" weather system shattered 103 heat records across B.C., Alberta, Yukon and N.W.T. on Monday.

Those records include a new Canadian high temperature of 47.9 C set in Lytton, B.C., smashing the previous record of 46.6 set in the same village a day earlier.

Temperature records were also set in the Alberta communities of Jasper, Grande Prairie and Hendrickson Creek for a second day as the mercury hit the mid- to high-30s.

It was 38.1 C in the Nahanni Butte region of N.W.T., the highest temperature ever recorded in the territory, Environment Canada says in its weather summaries for Monday.

The weather office has also issued four heat warnings for regions along Manitoba's western boundary.

Forecasters warn extreme conditions will persist across the Prairies at least through this week and possibly into next.

As the sweltering system slides out of B.C., temperatures are expected to dip to more seasonal values. The weather office is calling for a chance of lightning Wednesday night in the parched southern Interior. It's the same area where evacuation alerts were issued Monday as a wildfire grew to nearly two square kilometres.

The BC Wildfire Service announced a provincewide campfire ban effective at noon Wednesday, as the wildfire risk across most of B.C. is rated at high to extreme. The ban, which also covers fireworks, torches and burn barrels, remains in effect until Oct. 15.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2021.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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