B.C. state of emergency hits two-week mark, no end in sight against wildfires

By The Canadian Press
July 21, 2017 - 10:37am

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Today marks two weeks since raging wildfires that have displaced thousands of people British Columbia forced the province to call a state of emergency.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan said he would extend the order for an additional two weeks since many of the 43,000 people who had to flee their homes in the province’s Interior will not yet be able to return.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, who was sworn in Tuesday as part of B.C.’s new NDP government, says a $100 million fund established by the former Liberal government is enough to cover costs for now and the province is ready to spend more if necessary.

Farnworth says members of a federal ad hoc committee co-ordinating Ottawa’s response to the fires are expected to be meeting with provincial officials this weekend.

The federal government says committee members will also visit affected communities to determine what help is needed on top of current support from departments and agencies including the Canadian Armed Forces, Public Health Agency, RCMP and Canada Post.

Williams Lake, which was evacuated nearly a week ago, was among the areas of the province to see rain yesterday, but more than 100 fires are still active and air quality advisories resulting from the smoke have remained in effect.

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