VICTORIA -- Environment Canada is warning that a “dangerous long-duration heat wave” could push temperatures as high as 37 C on Vancouver Island over the next few days.

The warning covers a large swath of the region from Greater Victoria to Nanaimo, Courtenay, Campbell River, the southern Gulf Islands and inland Vancouver Island communities.

Temperatures will peak between Friday and Tuesday, with humidity levels pushing the perceived temperatures potentially as high as the low 40s, according to the weather service.

“An exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure will develop over British Columbia, likely resulting in record-breaking temperatures,” Environment Canada said in a statement Thursday.

“The duration of this heat wave is concerning as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures,” the weather service said. “This record-breaking heat event will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses.”

Similar heat warnings cover most of British Columbia over the next few days

The weather office says high temperatures will raise some river levels due to glacier melt, increase the risk of wildfires as forests dry out and boost the potential for illnesses linked to heat or air quality as the high-pressure lid traps stagnant air over much of B.C.

Residents are encouraged to drink plenty of water even before feeling thirsty and watch for symptoms of heat illness, such as dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat and fainting.

Outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.