OTTAWA – Killer heatwave in Canada: extreme temperatures have caused hundreds of deaths, especially in British Columbia. The coroner’s office reported 719 unexpected deaths last week alone, three times the usual levels. Pathologists are verifying the cause of the deaths one by one, and are not unbalancing the overall toll, but the alarm is already high on the record heat in all of western Canada, especially in Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
The record heat is also favoring the spread of forest fires, possibly caused by lightning: countless fires have forced the federal government to send military planes to help rescuers in British Columbia. On Friday, the British Columbia Wildfire Service reported 136 active fires across the province following 12,000 lightning strikes the previous day.
On Wednesday, the 250 inhabitants of the village of Lytton had to hastily evacuate the town, where the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada was recorded on Tuesday, at 49.6 degrees Celsius. The village – about 260km northeast of Vancouver – was completely destroyed by fire. “The whole country was engulfed in flames in 15 minutes,” he told Bbc Mayor Jan Polderman.
According to experts, climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events, such as heat waves.