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B.C. lifts state of emergency, but fire response continues

The B.C. government’s state of emergency in response to this year’s wildfire season has ended, but firefighters remain in action across the province.

According to B.C. officials,  the emergency order is no longer needed due to the actions of firefighting crews and lower wildfire risks due to cooler temperatures.

“As of Thursday, Sept. 14, about 370 people are on evacuation order and more than 18,000 are on evacuation alert. These numbers are a substantial improvement over the last several weeks,” said B.C. government officials.

Crews from around the province, Canada and internationally aided firefighting efforts.

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“Six hundred out-of-province personnel are currently assisting wildfire response and B.C. continues to co-ordinate additional out-of-province resources through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre,” said the provincial government.

Even though the state of emergency has ended, you are still urged to be cautious.

“While the provincial state of emergency is no longer required, the wildfire season is not over,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “Many communities still have local states of emergency in place and the expiration of the provincial state of emergency does not impact wildfire-fighting resources or our ability to continue to provide emergency supports to communities.”

“In particular, conditions continue to be very challenging in northern B.C., with 125 active fires in the Prince George Fire Centre, and the Province will continue to surge resources into the North as required.”

B.C. government staff said they will continue to respond to any active wildfires around the province.

“The Province is supporting fire-affected communities as they begin to focus on community-led recovery efforts. The expiry of the state of emergency has no impact on recovery work,” said officials.

Through the state of emergency, the B.C. government enacted an order to make accommodation available for evacuees in several communities in the central Interior and southeast.

“Thousands of hotel rooms became available and the Province was able to place evacuees in these rooms. This order was lifted on Aug. 25, 2023,” said the B.C. government. “When the provincial state of emergency was extended for two weeks on Aug. 31, nearly 70,000 people were on evacuation order or alert and highly volatile fire risks existed in multiple regions of the province.”

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