[This story originally appeared on The North Coast Review, a blog based in Prince Rupert that contains “items of interest to those living on the North Coast of BC.”]
With pressure building on the BC Government from communities across the interior over the last week, the NDP government has declared a Provincial State of Emergency, part of the province-wide response to the ongoing wildfire situation, most of which is burning swaths of forest from Williams Lake south to the US border.
The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth outlined the details of the declaration, saying it was based on a recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service.
“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.”
As of July 24th, there were 259 wildfires burning across the province, with 58 evacuation orders in place, along with another 81 evacuation alerts issued.
With the State of Emergency issued and going into effect, both the premier and MLA Jennifer Rice, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparation, relayed the advisory through their social media feeds.