BC declares a state of emergency because of wildfires

Elias Hubbard
August 16, 2018

The British Columbia government has declared a state of emergency as hundreds of out-of-control wildfires intensify across the province. "Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts". The state of emergency applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public, which remains the provincial government's top priority.

Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act.

It's the second time in as many years that a state of emergency has been declared during the wildfire season and the fourth time in just over two decades.

The BC Wildfire Service said 559 fires were burning Wednesday in all corners of the province, with 31 new starts since Tuesday.

Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth made the announcement Wednesday morning in a statement.

The state of emergency will be in effect for an initial 14 days.

The BC 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. Another 48 evacuation alerts means another 18,720 people should be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice if the fires spread.

By this time previous year, hundreds of homes been lost to wildfires and tens of thousands of people had been displaced.

Fire information officer Ryan Turcot said crews have responded to almost 1,800 wildfires since April 1 this year and more than 400 of those are believed to be caused by humans.

In fact, lightning has already sparked more than 1,300 wildfires in B.C. this year, which is more than any year since 2009. The blazes have left much of B.C.in a haze with air quality advisories in effect in several areas, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. It advised children, the elderly and those with heart and lung conditions to limit their exposure. "We need to see a widespread rain across the entire province to alleviate the situation".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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