In British Columbia in western Canada, 130 wildfires are blazing from lightning strikes. The last week the country has been swept by abnormal heat, from which 719 people have died.
Yesterday, Friday, the British Columbia Wildfire Service announced 12,000 lightning strikes and 136 associated wildfires. According to Cliff Chapman, director of operations for the province, “many of these lightning strikes fell near populated areas.”
Emergency services are involved in fighting the fires, and the federal government has announced the sending of military aircraft to help them. Residents have been warned: they must be prepared to leave their homes.
Harjit Sajan, Canada’s Secretary of Defense, announced the provision of government assistance, including military helicopters and personnel, to extinguish fires and evacuate people at risk of fire. Several highways are closed due to fires in both directions.
Bill Blair, Secretary of Public Safety, stated that bushfires and weather aggression have had a “devastating” and “unprecedented” impact on British Columbia:
“These wildfires show that we are in the very early stages of what promises to be a long and difficult summer.”
Previously, a wildfire destroyed 90% of the Canadian town Lytton, where in recent days record temperatures have been recorded – 49.6 ° C. Mayor Jan Polderman says it took the fire just 15 minutes to do this. BBC News quoted Mayor Lytton as saying, “People just grabbed their pets, their keys, got into their cars and drove away.” According to some reports, the fire could move at a speed of 10-20 km / h. It also caused significant damage to British Columbia’s hydroelectric power plants.
Lytton is located 260 km from Vancouver. About 250 people lived there. In the town, the highest temperature in the country was recorded in the entire history of observations – 49.6 ° C. This was announced by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Abnormal heat has been holding in the western province of Canada for a week, 719 people have become its victims. In the coastal regions of Canada, temperatures are gradually decreasing, but in the interior there is no particular respite. The British Columbia Wildfire Service said it is preparing for new fires over the weekend.
The Office of Forensic Science says the unprecedented heat wave has caused 719 sudden deaths in the past week. This figure is “3 times more” than the average at this time of the year. Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner, says:
“Many of the deaths in the past week have been in older people living alone in private homes with minimal ventilation.”
Experts suggest that climate change will increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as heatwaves. But it is difficult to link each individual event with global warming.
The “heat dome” effect, with which experts associate the current weather anomaly, is an unusual phenomenon that is usually extremely rare. According to experts, “on average, only once every several thousand years.” However, climate change “made these kinds of unusual occurrences more likely.”