News Mash-up: Extreme Conditions

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. leave (something) in (one's) wake / liv ɪn weɪk / (idiom) – to create or cause an effect that lasts even after one has left

    The storm left hundreds of damaged houses in its wake.

  2. brace for (something) / breɪs fər / (phrasal v.) – to prepare for something difficult or unpleasant

    Don’t forget to brace for the big bump at the end of the road.

  3. hyperthermia / ˌhaɪ pərˈθɜr mi ə / (n.) – a medical condition where the body reaches an extremely high temperature

    Last week, the average temperature was over 40 degrees Celsius, and we saw several hyperthermia patients.

  4. torch / tɔrtʃ / (v.) – to burn or set fire to something

    The waiter torched the steak before serving it to us.

  5. wildlife refuge / ˈwaɪldˌlaɪf ˈrɛf yudʒ / (n.) – an area where wild animals are protected

    You can’t hunt here! This is a wildlife refuge.


Read the text below.

Heat wave hits Canada, US with record highs

A heat wave that smashed all-time high temperature records in western Canada and the U.S. Northwest has left a rising death toll in its wake as officials braced for more sizzling weather and the threat of wildfires.

The worst of the heat had passed by June 30, but the U.S. state of Oregon reported 63 deaths linked to the heat wave. By comparison, the same state had only 12 deaths from hyperthermia from 2017 to 2019, the statement said.

In British Columbia, at least 486 sudden deaths were reported over five days. (Reuters)

Blaze grows as wildfires burn across US West

The largest wildfire in the U.S. torched more dry forest landscape in Oregon on July 18, one of dozens of major blazes burning across the West as critically dangerous fire weather looms in the coming days.

The destructive Bootleg Fire just north of the California border grew to more than 1,200 square kilometers, an area about the size of Los Angeles.

Some 2,000 residents of a largely rural area of lakes and wildlife refuges evacuated. The blaze has burned at least 67 homes and 100 outbuildings. (AP)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Oregon reported 63 deaths linked to the heat wave, while British Columbia reported at least 486 sudden deaths during it. What, if anything, do you think could have been done to prevent these deaths? How do you usually deal with high temperatures? Why? Discuss.
  • The heat wave smashed all-time high temperatures in western Canada and the US Northwest, which are not known for hot weather. Do you think it’s important to prepare for all types of natural disasters even if they’re not common in your area (ex. earthquakes in New York, tornados in central Tokyo)? What types of natural disasters are common in your area? What types are NOT common? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Around 2,000 residents evacuated from the Bootleg Fire, but some stayed behind to try to protect their property. What do you think of this (ex. brave, silly)? Why? Discuss.
  • The fire burned at least 67 homes and 100 outbuildings. Do you think it should be mandatory to have fire insurance in areas where fires are common? What types of insurance, if any, do you have for your home (ex. flood insurance, fire insurance)? What types of home insurance are common in your area? Why? Discuss.