The Canadian government has warned of a “long and demanding summer” ahead as it prepares military aircraft to help evacuate cities and fight more than 100 fires fueled by a heat wave.
At least 152 wildfires have been reported in the western province of British Columbia, 89 of them in the past two days, according to officials. Most were caused by lightning.
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While the immediate responsibility for the hot heat in Canada has been placed in a high-pressure “heat canopy” that traps hot air in the area, climate change is causing more frequent temperatures.
The response team announced that it would set up an operations center in Edmonton, where the Armed Forces would be able to provide logistical support. Military aircraft were also deployed to assist.
Some 1,000 people have already been evacuated from wildfires in British Columbia and authorities are searching for many who have disappeared.
Late Friday, the British Columbia medical examiner’s office said there were 719 deaths last week, “three times more” than the average number of deaths recorded during this period under normal circumstances. It is believed that the extreme weather that BC has experienced in the last week is an important factor contributing to the increased number of deaths.