WITH continued fire risk in many regions, and tens of thousands of people still under evacuation order and alert, the Province announced on Thursday that it is extending the provincial state of emergency until September 14 to ensure public safety and support the response to B.C.’s worst-ever wildfire season.
“While many people have returned home, tens of thousands of British Columbians remain under evacuation order or alert due to wildfires,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “We’re continually assessing the situation – which can evolve quickly – and will enact emergency orders to ensure the safety of people in our province as needed.”
Recent rain provided some relief to southern and coastal regions. However, northern B.C. is expected to continue to see unseasonably warm temperatures, dry conditions, smoke and strong winds, which could lead to extreme fire behaviour. In addition to 4,200 people on evacuation order, nearly 65,000 additional people remain on evacuation alert and ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.
B.C.’s Wildfire Act provides the legislative tools for the province to acquire wildfire fighting resources without a provincial state of emergency. A state of emergency allows the Province to enact other emergency orders that may be required, such as the order restricting travel for the purpose of staying in temporary accommodation that the Province announced on August 19. Thanks to the support of people and accommodation providers, travel restrictions have been fully lifted as of August 25.
There are more than 3,500 personnel directly engaged in wildfire response efforts, including BC Wildfire Service staff, contract personnel and personnel from Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Ontario and the Canadian Armed Forces.
BC Wildfire Service information and updates: http://www.bcwildfire.ca/
Emergency information: http://www.emergencyinfobc.ca