Historic heatwave & wildfires risk shaping up 2021 summer for Northwest US & Canada

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US Pacific North-West and Canada are experiencing historic heat wave, drought and risk of wildfires with temperatures soaring like never before. On Monday, Canada’s British Colombia region recorded 118F shattering all records. This week’s unprecedented heatwave is deemed highly dangerous by experts, breaking all records of the day previous. Officials fear that the dangerous conditions are a direct result of climate crisis, expected to worsen with time.

On Monday, Seattle recorded 108F, that was above Sunday’s all time high of 104F. Portland in Oregon too reached 115F after recording 112F on Sunday. “This is the beginning of a permanent emergency,” said Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee. “We have to tackle the source of this problem, which is climate change.”

According to meteorologists, heatwave is caused by a dome of high pressure that extends from California to Canada’s Arctic territories. The experts say it is being worsened by man-made climate crisis. Zeke Hausfather, a scientist at the climate-data non-profit Berkeley Earth, said in past half century the Pacific north-west had warmed by about 3F (1.7C) “This is worse than the same event would have been 50 years ago.”

The heatwave has led to power blackouts across region due to increased used of fans and air conditioners thereby straining power grids. Schools and businesses were forced to shut down to protect people from the catastrophic heat. Covid-19 vaccination and testing centres were also out of service.

Due to power cable melting and surge in electricity demand, light rail and street car service in Portland were also suspended. Expansion due to heat led to road pavements popping lose in many areas.

Vancouver region in north of Canada reported two dozen people succumbing from heat in past 24 hours. “This heatwave poses a significant threat to British Columbians, particularly seniors, children and the most vulnerable members of society. Climate change is a public health emergency and we need to treat it like one,” Sonia Furstenau, the leader of the Green party of British Columbia, tweeted on Monday.

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