Toronto, Canada, Jun 30 (EFE).- Several hundred people have died due to an unprecedented heat wave in western Canada, Canadian authorities said Wednesday, while a village where a record temperature of 49.6C was recorded on the previous day had to be evacuated.
Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner in British Columbia, which is located along Canada’s Pacific coast, said in a statement that the number of sudden deaths in the last five days has skyrocketed to 486, three times the usual number that would be recorded during this period.
“While it is too early to say with certainty how many of these deaths are heat related, it is believed likely that the significant increase in deaths reported is attributable to the extreme weather British Columbia has experienced and continues to impact many parts of our province,” she said.
“This number is preliminary and will increase as coroners enter death reports into our system,” she added.
Meanwhile, the village of Lytton, in the interior of British Columbia and where a record high temperature of 49.6C was recorded on Tuesday, was evacuated on Wednesday night due to an out-of-control wildfire.
Lytton, which has about 250 inhabitants, came into the spotlight on Sunday when it recorded a temperature of 47.9C, shattering the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada, 45 degrees Celsius in 1937.
Lytton set another record on Monday and then on Tuesday, when it reached almost 50C.
Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman told Canadian public broadcaster CBC that he signed the evacuation order at 6 pm on Wednesday and ordered all residents to leave the village.
“It’s dire. The whole town is on fire. It took, like, a whole 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to, all of a sudden, there being fire everywhere,” Polderman said.
The phenomenon that is causing the heat wave, a heat dome, which occurs when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap, has begun to move eastward, to the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The country’s weather service, Environment Canada, issued a heat warning Wednesday for Saskatchewan, and said hot conditions will continue all week. EFE