State of emergency extended as authorities warn B.C. wildfires are likely to get worse

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      The provincial government has again extended a state of emergency that was first declared on July 8 in response to ongoing wildfires across B.C.

      “The state of emergency declaration will continue to apply to the whole province,” reads an August 18 media release. “This ensures that federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and continue to ensure public safety, which remains the provincial government's top priority.”

      This is the third time that the government has issued an extension for the state of emergency. When it was originally declared on July 8, there were 180 wildfires burning across B.C. According to the government’s latest update, today there are 138 fires burning with 27 evacuation orders in effect displacing an estimated 4,400 people. An additional 40 evacuation alerts are affecting approximately 20,700 people.

      The extension of the state of emergency issued today extends to the end of September 1.

      The last time that a state of emergency was declared in B.C. in response to wildfires was 2003.

      In a separate August 18 release, the government has warned that a change in weather is likely to create more difficult conditions for firefighters.

      “A cold front bringing strong and variable winds, with gusts up to 60 km/h, is expected to move through the Cariboo Fire Centre on Friday, Aug. 18 and into the weekend. There is also a risk of lightning throughout the fire centre,” it reads.

      “A shift from prevailing southwesterly winds to westerly and northwesterly winds is also expected,” it continues.

      “Given the current wildfire situation in the Cariboo Fire Centre, the BC Wildfire Service anticipates that this weather system will lead to a substantial increase in wildfire activity throughout the region.”

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