VANCOUVER - Soaring mercury levels broke at least six records across the Lower Mainland this week, but the heat should ease off a bit this weekend for sweltering Vancouverites, according to Environment Canada.

"Wednesday was an historic day as far as temperatures go around here because we set at least six all-time record high temperatures," David Jones, Warning Preparedness meteorologist, said Thursday.

"I've never seen six fall in one day, and that's at least six that we know of for certain," he added, explaining that further information will roll in over the next couple of weeks from volunteer climate observers that could cause other records to fall.

Coming on the heels of a June that received double the average rainfall and just over half the average hours of sunlight, Wednesday's blistering July sun broke records on Vancouver Island, in Greater Vancouver and in the Fraser Valley.

The expected onslaught of beachgoers have officials worried about the breakup of a log boom off west-side Vancouver's Point Grey area on Tuesday that deposited more than 200 logs, some still in bundles of 20 to 30, along beaches. Curious day-trippers could risk injury if they get too close.

A company hired to clean up the logs was expected to finish the job by today.

Beach officials were expecting the heat to send tens of thousands to the water's edge.

Glenn Schultz, supervisor of beaches for the Vancouver Park Board, said he expects between 75,000 and 100,000 people out each day at the beaches and five outdoor pools as long as the temperatures stay high.

"[The heat] definitely brings out extra people," he said. "You get some people that come out in this kind of weather that normally don't come to the beach. It's so hot in their homes.

"You get people not familiar with the waters. You have to look for people without a suntan and 1930s bathing suits. They are the people you have to watch for."

That creates a challenge for lifeguards, he added. "In this kind of weather, you step it up a notch psychologically. You have a bigger group of people, a more diverse group of people."

At Kits Beach, Gentle St. Prix - waiting for his son, who was participating in a summer camp - said the beach was a relief from his hot apartment, although he preferred the shade of the trees to the hot sand.

"At home, it's hot. I prefer being out - in the shade," he said. "It's better than being at home."

In Chilliwack and Abbotsford, where records were smashed by at least a full degree, a few cases of heat stroke and dehydration were reported, according to Fraser Valley Health Authority spokesman Stephen Harris, but nothing statistically significant.

"I think that we can assume that people are using common sense and following some of the advice that we've been giving out," Mr. Harris said.

That advice includes drinking plenty of water, but avoiding caffeinated or sugary drinks, which may actually cause dehydration, said Viviana Zanocco, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. Ms. Zanocco said that no one has been checked into Vancouver hospitals for heat-related problems.

One of the tips from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Ms. Zanocco said, is for people to seek out air-conditioned places such as malls or movie theatres.

"Even if you just go for a few hours, that helps your body stay cool when you go back into the heat," she said.

In terms of increased demands for air conditioning - and electricity - the heat wave was poorly timed. On July 5, one of the two main transformers for Vancouver broke down, according to B.C. Hydro spokeswoman Gillian Robinson. The utility asked 400 downtown businesses to turn down their air conditioning by several degrees to keep the remaining transformer from overloading.

Ms. Robinson said Thursday that conservation efforts across the city saved 8.5 megawatts of power on the hottest day of the year.

Ian Robertson, chair of the Vancouver Parks Board, said shaded areas such as Stanley Park also see a dramatic increase in usage when the temperatures soar. However, Mr. Robertson cautioned visitors to be extra vigilant, because blown-down trees in the interior of the park increase the chances of fire from errant cigarette butts.

"Thursday, when I checked we were at a moderate fire risk in Stanley Park. ... If this weather continues we could be looking at it moving into high this weekend. We could be looking at extreme by next week if it doesn't rain," he said.

A cigarette and barbecue ban would go into effect in Stanley Park if the fire hazard level is raised to extreme.

Though the Lower Mainland shouldn't see a repeat of Wednesday's drastic heat, Mr. Jones said the temperature is forecast to remain well above the mid-20s, with no rain forecast over the next five days.

"Usually at the end of these heat waves, there are thundershowers, which might be dramatic, but you can never nail these things down more than a day in advance."