B.C. government declares a state of emergency in wildfire response

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A state of emergency was declared in British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday due to 566 wildfires burning in the region.

As of Wednesday, there are more than 550 wildfires burning across B.C., with 29 evacuation orders in effect displacing more than 3,000 people.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth made the announcement based on recommendations from members of the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC officials. An evacuation alert means that residents could be ordered to evacuate at a moment's notice.

During 2017's record-setting summer wildfire season, a provincial state of emergency was in effect from July 7 through September 15.

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But Farnworth noted there are some very significant differences when compared with the record setting 1.2 million hectares burned a year ago.

In the coming days, federal personnel and resources will be arriving in B.C.to assist with wildfire efforts.

The last time B.C. had declared a state of emergency prior to past year was August 2003 to deal with wildfires.

The dense smoke also made it more hard to find fires that were sparked by lightning last weekend, said Skrepnek. That means the provincial government has the authority to coordinate firefighting efforts and spend what's necessary to combat the more than 560 fires burning across BC. Previous declarations were in 1996, 2003 and 2017, which lasted 10 weeks.

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The wildfires are expected to expand since the weather forecast is calling for continued hot and dry conditions and risks of thunderstorms across the province.

It will be in place across the entire western province for at least 14 days.

48 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 18,720 people (9,359 properties). Just over 1,800 blazes have been recorded since the wildfire season began April 1.

More than 3,370 firefighters and contractors are fighting fires across the massive province, including 436 out-of-province personnel from Alberta, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Parks Canada, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand.

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More than 400 of those are believed to be caused by humans.

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