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Stay cool, Burns Lake! Dangerous heat wave headed our way, warns Environment Canada

A dangerous heat wave is headed towards Northern regions of British Columbia this weekend according to Environment Canada.

The temperatures for Lakes District, Bulkley Valley, North Thompson, North Columbia, Kinbasket, 100 Mile, Chilcotin, Cariboo, Prince George, Yellowhead, Williston, McGregor, B.C. Peace River, Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park, Stone Mountain Park are expected to reach new highs this summer and this weather is expected to last through Wednesday.

According to Environment Canada, an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure will develop over British Columbia likely resulting in record breaking temperatures.

Temperatures are expected to go up 37 degrees celsius, a number not witnessed before in the region.

The agency is also worried about the duration of this heat wave as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures. Other worries over this heat wave, which is expected to break all previous heat records, could be the potential increase in heat-related illnesses, raised river levels due to glacier melt and increased risk of wildfires due to drought conditions.

Northern Health has also issued a cautionary statement over these extreme temperatures and is asking residents and visitors to be aware of the risks of too much heat or sun exposure. This kind of extreme heat could lead to weakness, disorientation, exhaustion, heat stroke or sunstroke.

Staying hydrated, avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol, staying indoors and in shade as much as possible are just some ways to ensure no serious ailments follow the heat wave.

Northern Health also gives several other pointers to make sure residents are staying safe: If you do go outside, plan your outdoor activity before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m., when the sun’s Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the weakest, and seek shaded green spaces, wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

Also never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52 degrees celsius within 20 minutes inside a vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 degrees celsius. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

To avoid sunburn, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on exposed skin and an SPF 30 lip balm. Remember, sunscreen will protect against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays but not from the heat.

Additional information on heat-related health issues, including heat exhaustion and heatstroke could be found by calling 8-1-1 for health advice 24/7, or by visiting www.healthlinkbc.ca