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article imageB.C. declares a provincial state of emergency due to wildfires

By Karen Graham     Aug 15, 2018 in Environment
Vancouver - On Wednesday morning, he B.C. government declared a provincial state of emergency to support the province-wide response to the ongoing wildfire situation.
“Public safety is always our first priority and, as wildfire activity is expected to increase, this is a progressive step in our wildfire response to make sure British Columbia has access to any and all resources necessary,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety, in a press release, reports Kamloops Matters.
The state of emergency order is in effect for 14 days and can be extended or rescinded if warranted. It applies to the whole province and like a state of emergency declaration in the U.S., allows for provincial, federal and local resources to be delivered in a coordinated response to protect residents and property.
"Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property, and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts," Farnworth said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 566 active wildfires burning in the province along with 29 evacuation orders impacting around 3,050 people (1,521 properties), in addition to 48 evacuation alerts affecting 18,720 people (9,359 properties). Evacuation alerts mean residents must be prepared to get out of harm's way at a moment's notice.
There are currently over 3,372 firefighters and contractors actively involved in fighting the fires. This includes 1,427 B.C. contract personnel, as well as 436 out-of-province personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.
Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said: “Given the unpredictable behavior 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. We’re asking British Columbians to do their part and follow burning bans and restrictions to prevent human-caused fires.”
The High Creek #BCwildfire  between #HopeBC and #Agassiz just west of #BCHwy7  is ~50 ha. Firefighte...
The High Creek #BCwildfire, between #HopeBC and #Agassiz just west of #BCHwy7, is ~50 ha. Firefighters are building helipads for access, and working to build control lines. More firefighters and helicopters will be on site today.
B.C. Wildfire Service
Regional District of Bulkley Nechako
Some of the biggest wildfires are burning in the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, west of Prince George. Three new evacuation orders were signed on Tuesday. And on Tuesday night, an evacuation order was expanded for much of the populated area of the district, which is south of Fraser Lake, reports CBC Canada.
Everyone needs to take notice of this one statistic - Fire information officer Ryan Turcot said crews have responded to nearly 1,800 wildfires since April 1 this year and over 400 of those fires didn't have to happen because they were caused by humans.
Turcot adds that with the number of fires crews are already having to deal with, "the last thing they need is more preventable human-caused fires."
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