Pro­vin­cial state of emer­gency de­clared over B.C. wildfires

The Miracle - - National & Int -

The B.C. gov­ern­ment has de­clared a state of emer­gency as the province’s wild­fire sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ues to worsen. There are cur­rently 566 wildfires burn­ing across B.C., prompt­ing 29 evac­u­a­tion or­ders that have forced about 3,050 peo­ple to flee from their homes. Around 18,700 more res­i­dents are un­der evac­u­a­tion alert, and of­fi­cials ex­pect the sit­u­a­tion will get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. But the province-wide state of emer­gency will help en­sure “any and all re­sources nec­es­sary” are de­liv­ered to the ar­eas that need them, Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Mike Farn­worth said. “Pub­lic safety is al­ways our first priority and, as wild­fire ac­tiv­ity is ex­pected to in­crease, this is a pro­gres­sive step in our wild­fire re­sponse,” Farn­worth said in a state­ment. “Tak­ing this step will fur­ther en­sure we can pro­tect the pub­lic, prop­erty and in­fra­struc­ture, and as­sist with fire­fight­ing ef­forts.” Those re­sources will be com­ing from the lo­cal, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral lev­els. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment re­cently ac­cepted B.C.’s re­quest for help, and fed­eral per­son­nel and re­sources are ex­pected to ar­rive in the com­ing days. There are al­ready more than 3,370 fire­fight­ers and con­trac­tors bat­tling wildfires across every re­gion of the province, in­clud­ing 436 peo­ple who flew in from other parts of the coun­try and even over­seas. Some of the per­son­nel came from as far as New Zealand and Aus­tralia. Ot­tawa has also ap­proved the de­ploy­ment of nearly 200 mem­bers of the Armed Forces to help in the ef­fort. “Given the un­pre­dictable be­hav­iour of wildfires and the num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant wildfires in all ar­eas of the province, we’re bring­ing in the ad­di­tional re­sources we need to keep peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties as safe as pos­si­ble,” Forests Min­is­ter Doug Don­ald­son said in a state­ment. “We’re ask­ing Bri­tish Columbians to do their part and fol­low burn­ing bans and re­stric­tions to pre­vent hu­man-caused fires.” The B.C. gov­ern­ment said the state of emer­gency has been set to last 14 days, but can be ex­panded or can­celled at any time. Dur­ing last year’s de­struc­tive wild­fire sea­son, the state of emer­gency lasted for 10 weeks. The pro­vin­cial wild­fire ser­vice says more than 1,800 wildfires have been recorded since April 1, de­stroy­ing about 3.800-square-kilo­me­tres of brush.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.