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2 July 2021updated 16 Sep 2021 9:38am

How record temperatures are setting Canada on fire

The village of Lytton has recorded Canada’s all-time high temperature of 49.6°C. 

By Michael Goodier

Wildfires have burned 90 per cent of the village of Lytton in British Columbia after it broke the record for the highest-ever temperature recorded in Canada on three days in a row. The village recorded Canada’s all-time high temperature of 49.6°C on 29 June as a heatwave continued to sweep across North America.


Unusually high temperatures have been recorded across the continent’s Pacific NorthWest in the past week, with cities including Seattle and Portland breaking all-time heat records.

The unbearably hot temperatures have led to a wave of deaths. British Columbia coroners recorded at least 486 sudden deaths between 25 June and 30 June, almost triple the 165 sudden deaths that would usually occur over a five-day period.

Extreme weather events such as the current heatwave in Canada and the US are likely to become increasingly common as climate change deepens and global emissions continue to rise – and governments need to adapt in order to cope with extreme climates and avoid spikes in deaths of the kind British Colombia has suffered. 

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However, only 13 countries have submitted a climate change adaptation communication to the UN, despite it being required under the Paris Agreement. These countries don’t include the US or Canada.