Extreme heat

The heat dome that occurred in June 2021 caused temperatures to rise to approximately 40 degrees Celsius in this region. In the months that followed a coordinated planning effort was initiated and several levels of government and various agencies worked together to plan for future heat events. The BC Provincial Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS) was created and the BC Provincial Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS): 2022 guide was published.

Heat warning

The BC HARS guide indicates that Environment and Climate Change Canada will issue a heat warning for our region “when two or more consecutive days of daytime maximum temperatures are expected to reach 29°C or warmer and nighttime minimum temperatures are expected to fall to 16°C or warmer.”(Source: BC Provincial Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS): 2022 guide). This warning will be issued using the same communication channels that weather warnings are issued. This type of event can, in a typical year, occur one to three times each summer season. In some events the heat warning could transition into an extreme heat emergency. A heat warning means daytime and overnight temperatures are higher than usual, but they are not getting hotter every day. 

Take the usual steps to stay cool. 

Heat emergency

When there is “high certainty that temperatures would increase substantially each day for three or more consecutive days, the process for issuing an Extreme Heat Emergency will be initiated.” (Source: BC Provincial Heat Alert and Response System (BC HARS): 2022 guide). There is usually time to issue warnings to the public and organizations who work with those most vulnerable. This type of event usually only occurs once or twice per decade.

During a heat event all members of the campus community are encouraged to follow the advice provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada and by public health.

Heat safety tips

For more information on heat stress prevention and a heat stress guide visit this page maintained by UVic Occupational Health, Safety and Environment.

PreparedBC has published the Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide. This guide provides additional information on how to be personally prepared for heat events.

The future

As planning for heat events is relatively new, and the provincial guideline was only recently published, the university will continue to develop and refine plans associated with heat events. Updates to this webpage are expected as those plans are developed.