Provincial state of emergency declared in BC

Provincial state of emergency declared in BC

It applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public.

Mike Farnsworth, minister of public safety, made the declaration today based on the recommendation from B.C.'s wildfire and emergency management officials.

As of Wednesday, there are more than 550 wildfires burning across B.C., with 29 evacuation orders in effect displacing more than 3,000 people. There are an additional 48 evacuation alerts affecting another 18,720 people. The forecast across B.C. calls for continued hot and dry conditions with risks of thunderstorms.

On Monday, the province requested help from the federal government to battle the blazes.

Once issued, the state of emergency is in effect for two weeks but can be extended or rescinded as necessary. There are now more than 3,372 firefighters and contractors engaged in fighting fires.

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There are more than 3,372 firefighters and contractors fighting fires all over the province, including hundreds of national and worldwide personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Mexico and New Zealand.

Ottawa is also sending resources and Canadian Forces members to assist.

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 are challenged with the number of fires in the province", British Columbia Forests Minister Doug Donaldson told public broadcaster CBC.

The state of emergency gives government and policing agencies the authority to take every action necessary to fight the wildfires and protect people and communities. Prior to that, the province's last state of emergency was in August 2003, to deal with that wildfire season.

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