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Provincial State of Emergency Extended To September 14 Due To Wildfires

Victoria – AUGUST 31 UPDATE – The Government of British Columbia has extended the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on Sept. 14, 2021, to support the ongoing co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and to ensure public safety.

“Things are trending in the right direction, but we must remain alert and aware of the fires still burning and the potential for others to start,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Extending this state of emergency recognizes that the potential for significant wildfire activity persists, even as the nights get longer and the days cool down a bit, so I urge British Columbians to continue to be vigilant.”

As of Tuesday, Aug. 31, 233 wildfires were burning in B.C., with 21 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,754 properties. There are 77 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 6,073 properties.

AUGUST 17 UPDATE – The Government of British Columbia has extended the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on Aug. 31, 2021, to support the ongoing co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and to ensure public safety.

“We’ve seen several large fires spread rapidly over the weekend in multiple communities throughout the province,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “As we renew this state of emergency for another two weeks, I want to assure British Columbians that we’re taking every step possible to ensure the safety of everyone in these communities. We’re also asking travellers to stay away from fire-affected areas – those under evacuation order or alert – and consider travelling to other areas of B.C. until the situation stabilizes.”

As of the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 17, 263 wildfires are burning in B.C., with 86 evacuation orders affecting approximately 8,262 properties. There are 125 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 22,729 properties.

“Wildfire crews and first responders are currently faced with incredible challenges as they fight multiple fires throughout our province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “The best way we can support their efforts is to work together and follow evacuation orders and alerts because the safety of all British Columbians is our top priority.”

The Province’s decision to extend the provincial state of emergency will support the significant number of people who remain under evacuation orders and alerts and continues to support the potential of even larger-scale evacuations.

AUGUST 3 UPDATE – The B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency through the end of the day on Aug. 17, 2021, to support the ongoing co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and ensure public safety.

“As we have seen over the past number of weeks, the continued dry, hot weather poses a high risk for potential wildfires,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The Province will continue to support British Columbians with all of the tools they may need if they end up facing an evacuation order.”

As of the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 3, 254 wildfires are burning in B.C., with 64 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,305 properties. There are 99 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 21,049 properties.

  • The provincial state of emergency supporting B.C.’s wildfire response remains in effect until Aug. 18 at 12:01 a.m. (Pacific time).
  • The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible as necessary.

FYI:

For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

Keep up to date on the provincial wildfire situation: www.bcwildfire.ca

JULY 20 ORIGINAL STORY – The B.C. government is declaring a provincial state of emergency to support the provincewide response to the ongoing wildfire situation.

This after a few weeks of social media criticism over the lack of declaration which triggers additional resources and funding. Also a fire blocking the Coquihalla/Highway 3 split north of Hope on July 20 (Near Othello Tunnels).

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, made the declaration on July 20, 2021, based upon the recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC. The declaration will be in effect starting July 21, 2021.

The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days once issued and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. The state of emergency applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public, which remains the provincial government’s top priority.

“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 extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act,” Farnworth said. “In a briefing last night, I received word that we’ll be facing a few days of very difficult weather in the Interior. This declaration will address the potential of a mass evacuation scenario and provide our government with the means to secure the accommodation spaces necessary to house our citizens, if necessary.”

This as the BC Wildfire Service is issuing a wind advisory for the Interior, southern Interior and southeastern B.C. from Tuesday, July 20 to Thursday, July 22, 2021.

This weather system is expected to exit the province late on Thursday, July 22.

Wind activity may significantly impact fire growth in these regions. The rate of fire spread will likely increase, and the direction of fire growth may change quickly on some wildfires.

The top priority for the BC Wildfire Service is human life and safety. The public is urged to maintain heightened awareness of the current wildfire situation.

As of July 20, there were 299 wildfires burning in B.C., with 40 evacuation orders affecting approximately 5,724 people (2,862 properties), in addition to 69 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 32,076 people (16,038 properties). The extended weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions, with heightened wind activity in the Interior and southeastern B.C.

More than 3,180 firefighters and resource staff are currently actively engaged in fighting fires in all fire regions in the province. This includes 1,080 contractors and 135 out-of-province resources.

The federal government has responded to and accepted British Columbia’s request for firefighting assistance. In the coming days, federal personnel and resources will be arriving in B.C. to assist with wildfire efforts.

The state of emergency gives agencies, such as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Emergency Management BC, the fire commissioner and the RCMP, the authority to take every action necessary to fight the wildfires and protect people and communities.

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