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No northern heat wave deaths

Zero deaths reported in northern B.C., but 16 deaths attributed to heat across the province July 26 to August 3, according to coroners service report
Heat wave (Getty)
The worst day for fatalities was July 29, with five deaths recorded during a recent wave of record setting temperatures in B.C.

There were zero heat-related deaths in northern B.C. during a wave of record-setting heat across the province last month, according preliminary data from the coroners service.

From July 26 to Aug. 3, there were 16 deaths attributed to heat in the province, most of them in the Fraser Health region where eight deaths were reported.

Six deaths were reported in the Interior, and one death was recorded in each of the Vancouver Coastal and Island health authorities.

According to the coroners service, six of the deaths were in the 70-to-79 age bracket. There were two each in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups, three in 60-69, and three 80 and above.

"There is no direct temperature at the time of death but there is evidence (circumstantial, scene environment, medical history) to support that heat played a significant causal effect on the death," reads the Aug. 9 report.

The report adds a caveat that, “The data are considered preliminary and subject to change as coroners’ investigations conclude. These data were compiled by Coroner Notification Date, which may differ from the date of injury."

Environment Canada issued heat warnings for most of the province on July 25 lasting through Aug. 1.

New daily temperature records were set in several communities in Northeast B.C. on July 27 and July 28, as well as in the Alberta Peace.

Many other areas of the province saw temperatures 10 degrees higher than normal, with records also falling throughout the Interior, Lower Mainland, and on Vancouver Island.

By comparison, 619 people died in B.C. during a week of extreme heat across the province last summer, known as the heat dome.

According to a report from the province’s chief coroner in June, that include 23 heat-related deaths in northern B.C., four of them in the Northeast.

— with files from Bob Mackin


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