With temperatures set to rise into the high 30Cs and even flirting with the low 40Cs, preparations are in place to ensure the safety of Valley and Island residents throughout the heatwave.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of the Island in addition to Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Southern Gulf Islands for the entire week as daytime maximum temperatures will remain five to 10 degrees above seasonal.
A heat dome is set to bubble directly over the province by Saturday, and could potentially break all-time heat records, noted The Weather Network. The dome is a high-pressure system that features descending air that compresses and warm to record levels at the surface.
According to the agency, these features tend to be cloudless as well. There is a feedback effect that occurs as warm air gets trapped in lower elevations and temperatures can only fall into the 20Cs at night.
On Sunday (June 27), daytime temperatures in the Valley are expected to reach 36C and 37C on June 28. With the humidity factored in, temperatures will feel more like 42C each day.
The record for highest temperature recorded at the Comox weather station on June 27 is 31.1C set in 2015. On June 28, the record is set at 31.2C also in 2015.
Those at the Coastal Fire Centre and preparing for what could be a dry week ahead, making way for drought-like conditions – perfect for forest fires to take hold.
“Most of us are aware that we’re locked into a very dry, hot summer pattern with temperatures heading to warmer than seasonal through the end of June and early July. Within B.C., the forest fuel is facing drought-like conditions,” said Julia Caranci, fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre in Parksville.
She noted there is the potential to have worsening fire conditions, particularly if there is an ignition. So far this year, there have been virtually no wildfires caused by lightning so far, so those fires that are happening have been human-caused.
“We are asking for the public’s help in taking all precautions. When you have hot and dry weather and when ignitions happen, they tend to be more aggressive.”
Category 2 and Category 3 open fires will be prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre’s jurisdiction with the exception of Haida Gwaii. Category 2 and 3 open fires will not be prohibited in Haida Gwaii.
These categories generally include larger industrial burns and outdoor burning, Caranci said. Campfires are still allowed, but the fire centre is asking the public “to be incredibly cautious and careful.”
Caranci added those planning on having a campfire do not leave it unattended, have at least eight litres of water nearby and ensure it is cool to the touch when putting it out.
“Don’t become a statistic and create a human-caused fire.”
According to The Weather Network, sixty per cent of British Columbians do not own an air conditioner in their households. As for ways to keep cool, meteorologists are suggesting to keep homes cool by ensuring blinds are closed, wearing loose, light clothing, stay hydrated, take breaks if working outdoors and continue to apply sunscreen if planning to spend time outdoors.
Lakes, rivers and the ocean are also good ways to cool off, however, they suggest going in the morning or evening to avoid the intense heat of the day.
While there are currently no plans in place for a cooling shelter in the Valley for those seeking a reprieve from the heat, Comox Mayor Russ Arnott said the splash park at Marina Park will be open throughout the weekend and next week.
An inquiry to the City of Courtenay for high-temperature strategies for citizens was directed to the Comox Valley Emergency Program. A call to Emergency Operations Centre spokesperson Jesse Ketler was not returned by deadline.