With 56 new wildfires started today alone in B.C., the government has issued a provincial state of emergency. The first one in 14 years.
Minister of Transportation Todd Stone announced a provincial state of emergency this evening to ensure a coordinated response to the current wildfire situation and to ensure public safety.
Stone said that 56 new wildfires have been recorded today alone and that the weather forecast is not promising for the weekend ahead.
These are in addition to the evacuation orders and alerts issued yesterday for 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House.
“The extended weather forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms in many parts of the province,” adds the ministry.
“Given the current wildfire situation and the expected increase in wildfire activity, the Province is taking this extraordinary measure of declaring a provincial state of emergency.
“This is an urgent situation and public safety is the top priority. The Province will continue to keep the public informed in this rapidly evolving situation.”
The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight these wildfires and protect residents and their communities.
The RCMP are assisting with the fires that have popped up around the province as well and are asking the public for continued patience.
Declarations of provincial states of emergency are issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The last provincial declaration of state of emergency was issued in August 2003 to deal with destructive and historic wildfire year.
For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC.
Keep up-to-date on the provincial wildfire situation: www.bcwildfire.ca.
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