1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

North America experiences soaring temperatures, wildfires

July 12, 2021

Authorities have imposed evacuations, road closures and limited train traffic as North America experiences severe temperatures. Heat warnings were issued for some cities, with record-breaking temperatures likely.

A highway near Thermal, California.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
This year was the hottest June in North America.Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images

People across the US and Canada continued to suffer due to soaring temperatures on Sunday, as a heat wave forced evacuations, road closures, and limited train traffic. 

The National Weather Service said on its website, "A dangerous heat wave will affect much of the western US, with record-breaking temperatures likely." Excess heat warnings were issued for the cities of Phoenix and San Jose.

Second heat wave since June

Parts of Canada and the US had seen similar extreme weather conditions just a few weeks ago in June. It was the hottest June in North America, according the European Union's climate monitoring service. 

The sweltering heat resulted in wildfires, and pressured power grids across the north western part of the continent. 

In the US, Oregon's Bootleg wildfire blazed on, affecting 144,000 acres. Residents of more than 1,000 homes in the state were under mandatory evacuation orders. 

In California's Death Valley, which often records the hottest temperatures, visitors had gathered at a large digital thermometer outside Furnace Creek. The thermometer recorded 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) the highest number it had ever recorded. 

Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced safety measures under the extreme weather conditions.

Trains are can cause wildfires under such temperatures if their spark arresting devices are not well-maintained. Canada is investigating whether a train might have caused the fire that led to the destruction of 90% of the town of Lytton

Multiple wildfires were reported in Canada's British Columbia.

The past six years have been the warmest on record. According to the World Meteorological Organization, there was a 40% chance of annual average global temperature temporarily surpassing 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures within the next five years.

To the point - Climate catastrophe: Will we ever change our ways?

tg/aw (AFP, AP, Reuters)