British Columbia declares state of emergency over hundreds of wildfires

British Columbia declares state of emergency over hundreds of wildfires

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

The wildfires are expected to expand since the weather forecast is calling for continued hot and dry conditions and risks of thunderstorms across the province. Additional federal resources and personnel will arrive in the province in the coming days in response to the state of emergency.

Once issued, the state of emergency is in effect for two weeks but can be extended or rescinded as necessary.

There are also 48 evacuation alerts that have 18,720 people across the province ready to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

As of Tuesday, there are more than 560 wildfires burning across the province, including five major fires within the Prince George Fire Centre.

The federal government said on Monday it would deploy help in the form of aircraft and hundreds of soldiers to aid British Columbia in its firefighting efforts, according to The Star Vancouver. That includes 1,427 B.C. contract personnel and 436 out-of-province personnel, from places like Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand. "We're asking British Columbians to do their part and follow burning bans and restrictions to prevent human-caused fires".

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.

The last time B.C. had declared a state of emergency prior to previous year was August 2003 to deal with wildfires.

This is the second year in a row the province has declared a state of emergency, which lasted for 10 weeks from July 10 to September 15 during the 2017 wildfire season.

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