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Ongoing heat over southern B.C. topples records, sets table for added wildfire woes

Environment Canada says 20 communities in B.C. set heat records on Monday and with high humidity, it warns many towns and cities could feel hotter than 40 C.
Willows Beach is filled with crowds on a sunny August afternoon. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The 10 hottest communities in Canada were all located in British Columbia on Monday and forecasters expect the sizzling temperatures will continue for at least a few more days across the province's Interior. 

The Fraser Canyon communities of Lytton and Lillooet both broke the 40 C mark on Monday, with Lytton reaching 41.4 C and Lillooet slightly behind, while the southern Okanagan community of Osoyoos was expected to join the 40-plus club by the end of the day.

Environment Canada says 20 communities from Vancouver Island to the Cariboo, southern Interior and southeastern B.C., set heat records on Monday and with high humidity, it warns many towns and cities could feel hotter than 40 C. 

The weather office says overnight lows across southern B.C. didn't dip much below 20 C, further complicating the wildfire situation while adding to the risks facing elderly or vulnerable people who can't escape the ongoing heat wave.

The heat is making the situation worse for about 370 wildfires burning in the province. Of those, 145 are considered out of control. 

Sarah Budd, an information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the greatest risk to the blazes burning in the province will come Thursday when a cold front moves in from the northwest, bringing strong winds, dry lightning and the potential to start more fires, while making the current wildfires worse. 

Provincial power utility BC Hydro said Tuesday that it also set a new record for the highest peak hourly demand in August on Monday night. 

BC Hydro said in a statement that consumption reached over 8,400 megawatts, with a heat wave usually adding 1,000 megawatts of power use, equal to turning on one million air-conditioning units. 

Bulletins from Environment Canada say much of the coastal region will return to seasonal temperatures by Wednesday, but central and southern regions of the province will endure the heat a day or two longer.