Southern Vancouver Island will experience its first heat wave of the summer this week. Smoke from the fires in the province’s interior is also expected to hit the coast in the coming days. (File photo)

Make sure rising mercury not deadly, say officials as heat wave set to hit Island

Smoke from interior fires also expected to hit area this week

All-time temperature records are expected to go down this week as the temperature goes up, up, up.

The first major heat wave of the season is forecast to hit the mid-Island region this week.

Daily temperature records are expected to be broken in many communities over the next few days, including the all-time records for the month of August, as a massive ridge of high pressure is building over southern B.C.

Daytime highs are forecast to soar into the mid-to-upper 30s for inland communities on Vancouver Island, while temperatures will be several degrees cooler along the water.

Smoke from wildfires burning in the Interior is also expected to drift down through valleys into coastal areas by mid-week due to a change in weather conditions, according the Coastal Fire Centre.

Related: B.C. wildfire crews prepare for scorching August

These conditions could persist for the remainder of this week.

Prevailing winds normally travel from the coast to the Interior of the province.

This week, however, the winds are expected to switch into outflow conditions and move air from the Interior to the coast.

This air will be very warm, exceptionally dry and likely smoky.

This weather pattern will rapidly dry out coastal forests, making them more susceptible to wildfire and making it more challenging for firefighters to put out existing fires.

People are being urged to call the police immediately if they come across children and/or pets left in hot vehicles in the coming days.

Const. Pam Bolton, from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said temperatures in vehicles left in the sun will be even hotter than what is being forecast.

“If you do come across children or pets in distress in cars, you should call 911 and the RCMP will attend to the scene right away,” Bolton said.

“You might want to check the doors of the car to see if they are locked and look around to see if you can spot the car’s owner until the police arrive. But we don’t want members of the public to put themselves in danger by taking action unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Related: VIDEO: VPD officer yells at mom after kids left in hot car

Bolton said children should never be left alone in vehicles at any time of the year, and pets should be left at home on hot days.

She said police can start investigations into cases where children are considered to be in danger when left in hot cars, and the parents and/or caregivers could also have to deal with investigators from the Ministry of Children and Family Development and other agencies.

Bolton said the SPCA could also get involved in cases where animals are left in cars.

Related: BC SPCA warns: A hot car is no place for your pet

Island Health is reminding all residents to be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illness as the extreme hot weather hits, and to check in on those at greater risk.

A press release states that the symptoms of heat-related illness can range from mild to severe.

They include pale, cool, moist skin; heavy sweating; muscle cramps; rashes; swelling, especially of the hands and feet; and dizziness and/or fainting.

Island Health is also encouraging people to drink more fluids regardless of their activity level during the heat wave.

“Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink” the release states.

“Avoid liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar — these can cause you to lose more body fluid.”

People are also advised to stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place.

If your home does not have air conditioning, try to go to the shopping mall or public library.

Even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.

If you go outside, apply sunscreen to exposed skin, early and often, at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to going out.

Seek shade and keep skin covered as much as possible when spending time in the sun.

The sun can burn and damage skin even on a cloudy day.

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