British Columbia declares a provincial state of emergency

THE Province of British Columbia on Friday declared a provincial state of emergency because of the wildfire situation to ensure that the government is in a position to rapidly access any tools it needs to support communities as the situation evolves.

Premier David Eby and Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said in a statement:

“This year, we are facing the worst wildfire season ever in British Columbia. Over the past 24 hours, the situation has evolved rapidly and we are in for an extremely challenging situation in the days ahead. There are numerous fires across the province threatening communities. Thousands of people are under evacuation orders, and tens of thousands more are on evacuation alert.

“Given these fast-moving conditions, the Province of British Columbia is declaring a provincial state of emergency, under the authority of the Emergency Program Act, to ensure we are in a position to rapidly access any tools we need to support communities as the situation evolves.

“At this time, we’re grateful that people are mostly following our call to not travel to certain areas and to stay out of the way of emergency crews so they can do their jobs. We are also seeing more and more people evacuated – and access to accommodation is becoming increasingly tight in the Interior. We need to ensure that accommodation is available for people who are evacuated.

“A provincial state of emergency allows the Province to enact emergency orders. Emergency orders could include travel restrictions to specific areas if people do not respect our calls to avoid non-essential travel to the central Interior and southeastern B.C.

“We’re calling on all British Columbians to be alert, listen to local officials and follow evacuation orders. We will get through this together.”