Canada's British Columbia declares state of emergency, battles over 180 wildfires
A state of emergency has been declared by the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) to battle over 180 wildfires, many of which are considered out of control.
The BC Wildfire Service said over 173 fires were reported on Friday (7 July) alone as lightning storms rolled over several parts of BC.
Several raging wildfires in BC are expected to worsen as hot, dry, windy weather continues to obstruct the efforts of the firefighters to control the fire.
No deaths or injuries were reported. Authorities are requesting people to take precautions to stay safe. An estimated 7,000 people had been forced out of their homes. The fires have spread across hundreds of kilometres, CBC News reported.
“The weather situation is not favourable,” John Rustad, BC’s minister of forests, lands and natural resources operations, told Reuters. “There is very aggressive fire behaviour that makes it very difficult to directly attack.”
Around 260 firefighters from across Canada are due to arrive in the province by Monday or Tuesday, Rustad added.
Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said his province was sending three aircraft and 30 firefighters to the affected areas.
Police from the Vancouver area are headed to the region to help. BC Public Safety Minister Mike Morris said it might become necessary to call in the military, CBC News stated.
Officials said buildings have been destroyed, but they did not release any numbers. Some evacuees had made their way to a make-shift emergency centre at a sporting facility in Kamloops, some 250 km (155 miles) northeast of Vancouver.
It is the first state of emergency declared by the province in 14 years. The last state of emergency was declared in August 2003, which was also to deal with wildfires.
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- Canada’s British Columbia declares state of emergency, battles over 180 wildfires