Premier John Horgan warns raging wildfires and toxic haze could be "the new normal" for B.C. summers

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      B.C. premier John Horgan is touring his burning province this morning (August 21).

      "Smoke as far as the eye can see. Almost every region of BC has been touched by these wildfires in some way," he wrote on Twitter alongside a photograph taken from an airplane that shows a thick haze stretching into the horizon.

      "There are also many people who have been evacuated because of the #BCWildfires, and are worried about their homes," Horgan added in a second message. "In BC, in times of need, we help each other out. We’ve partnered with the Red Cross to support those who need it." A link included there leads to a Canadian Red Cross website where people are encouraged to donate to B.C. residents affected by the fires.

      As of August 21, there were more than 50 "wildfires of note" burning across British Columbia.

      The province declared a state of emergency and requested assistance from the federal government on August 15.

      Firefighters are spread thin throughout the province, battling fires that once would have been described as unusually large and persistent. Unfortunately, such natural disasters are increasingly the norm for B.C. summers and for much of the world.

      Earlier in the day, Horgan made that point with a possible reference to climate change.

      "We're concerned, all of us, that this may be the new normal," he told reporters, according to CBC News.

      B.C.'s 2017 wildfire season was the worst in generations. It "dwarfed the historic records for area burned in British Columbia at well over a million hectares, or 12,000 square kilometres," reads a July 2017 government media release. "The effects on people, wildlife and our forest economy will be felt for many years to come.

      "Consider also that 2017 was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of B.C.—by a significant margin, according to Environment Canada," it continues.

      That July 2017 release from the provincial government notes that year's fires were due, "in large part," to climate change.

      In Metro Vancouver, an air-quality advisory remains in effect.

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