B.C. declares provincial state of emergency due to wildfires

Provincial state of emergency declared over B.C. wildfires

There were more than 560 wildfires burning in the province as of Tuesday and almost 80 evacuation orders and alerts in place affecting more than 21,000 people.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth made the announcement based on recommendations from members of the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC officials.

"Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts", he said.

With the extended weather forecast calling for continued hot and dry conditions, as well as a risk of thunderstorms in some areas, things could get worse before they get better.

The move ensures that the whole province will be able to access coordinated federal, provincial and local resources to fight against the 566 wildfires that are burning in the heavily-forested and mountainous Pacific province. There are an additional 48 evacuation alerts affecting another 18,720 people.


On Monday, the British Columbia government formally requested help from the federal government, which responded by sending 200 troops as well as military aircraft to help contain and "mop up" the wildfires.

BC firefighters are also getting help from colleagues from other Canadian provinces as well as from fire crews from Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

Once issued, the state of emergency is in effect for two weeks but can be extended or rescinded as necessary.

The wildfire service says more than 1,800 wildfires have been recorded since the season began on April 1, charring almost 3,800-square kilometres of timber and bush. "We're asking British Columbians to do their part and follow burning bans and restrictions to prevent human-caused fires". Prior to that, the province's last state of emergency was in August 2003, to deal with that wildfire season.

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