Canada's British Columbia wildfires prompt state of emergency

Canada's British Columbia wildfires prompt state of emergency

A state of emergency was declared in British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday due to 566 wildfires burning in the region.

As of Tuesday, there were 566 wildfires burning in British Columbia, and 77 evacuation orders or alerts affecting almost 22,000 people and 11,000 properties. There are an additional 48 evacuation alerts affecting another 18,720 people.

"Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts", he said. That number is likely to increase as the extended weather forecast calls for continued hot and dry conditions, with the risk of thunderstorms in some parts of the province.

It is only the second time in more than a decade that it has been used, after a record fire season past year that blackened vast tracts of forest and prompted record numbers of residents to evacuate. The fires have left much of a haze with air quality advisories in effect in several areas, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The federal government has also approved the deployment of almost 200 members of the Armed Forces to assist with fighting the fires.

The state of emergency will be in effect for two weeks, but may be extended or rescinded based on wildfire activity.

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More than 3,372 firefighters and contractors are fighting the fires.

Almost 3,400 firefighters and contractors from B.C., the rest of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico are battling blazes in all fire regions of the province.

"We're asking British Columbians to do their part and follow burning bans and restrictions to prevent human-caused fires", he said.

Ottawa is also sending resources and Canadian Forces members to assist.

BC is now under a state of emergency as the wildfire problem continues to grow in the province.

During 2017's record-setting summer wildfire season, a provincial state of emergency was in effect from July 7 through September 15.

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