The heat wave, which began a week ago, has already killed at least 500 people in Canada. The country’s armed forces were ready to help evacuate cities and fight more than 170 forest fires in the western part of the country, Deutsche Welle reported. At least 177 fires have been active in the western province of British Columbia, 76 of which have occurred in the past two days, authorities said. Most are caused by lightning. . “We saw about 12,000 lightning strikes on Friday,” said Cliff Chapman, director of the British Columbia Fire Department. Lisa LaPoint, director of the Department of Ecology in British Columbia, the region most affected by the “heat dome”, said the number of sudden deaths in the past week had risen to 719. LaPoint explained that this figure was three times higher than normal for this period, so that almost 500 deaths were due to the heat wave that triggered the thermometers in the province, to unprecedented figures, such as 49.6 degrees Celsius in the interior of British Columbia.
“It is believed that the extreme weather conditions that British Columbia has experienced in the last week have been an important factor contributing to the increase in deaths,” Lapoint said in a statement. She added that the number will continue to increase in the coming days as the information is updated, with many of the dead being elderly people living alone in homes without air conditioning. To understand the unusual and extreme weather conditions experienced on the Canadian Pacific coast over the past week, LaPoint noted that there have been only three heat-related deaths in the province in the past five years. The phenomenon, known as the “heat dome”, is a mountain of hot air “stuck” in the upper atmosphere and has caused not only hundreds of deaths, but also fires and river overflows. Data from the British Columbia Forest Fire Service show that there have been 245 fires in the last week, 76 of which have started in the last two days. Almost 70% of fires are caused by lightning, which has found the ideal dry conditions for lighting forest fires. 113,000 lightning strikes were detected in British Columbia in 15 hours between Wednesday and Thursday. One of those fires is the one that has engulfed the entire small town of Lytton in recent days, where thermometers have reached 49.6 degrees – a new temperature record for all time in Canada.