FORT ST. JOHN -- Heat is expected to persist in B.C. through the start of the week after some parts of the province saw record-breaking temperatures over the weekend.

More than 40 heat warnings remained in place across B.C. Monday, with moderate summer temperatures expected later in the week.

Sunday was the hottest July 7 on record in 22 communities across B.C. amid a heat wave that prompted weather warnings in much of the province, according to preliminary data from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Fort Nelson set a new record on Sunday of 31.4 C, beating the old record of 30.6 C set in 1953.

Jennifer Smith, national warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said during a morning news conference the heat wave was due to a ridge of high pressure over western North America.

"High pressure causes air to sink and dry out, reducing cloud cover and leading to hot temperatures," Smith explained.

Smoke from wildfires in Northeast BC also prompting Environment Canada to issue a Special Air Quality Statement.

The Peace Region and the Fort Nelson area will be impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours.

During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.

People with pre-existing health conditions, respiratory infections such as COVID-19, older adults, pregnant women and infants, children, and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.




With files from Alyse Kotyk Reporter