British Columbia Premier David Eby has declared a provincewide state of emergency in response to “unprecedented” wildfires that have forced the evacuation of at least 10,000 more people late Friday.
Eby says the situation has “evolved and deteriorated” quite rapidly.
Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma says the number of people under evacuation order in B.C. went from 4,500 to 15,000 in the matter of an hour.
A further 20,000 people are under evacuation alert.
Ma says a state of emergency allows the province to compel co-operation in the fire fight from “unwilling partners,” although co-operation has so far been excellent.
The state of emergency comes as homes continue to burn in West Kelowna, where the city’s fire chief says a “significant” number of properties were destroyed.
- Island fire departments send crews to Kelowna to help battle wildfire
- Some evacuees come to Vancouver Island as 20,000 people flee Yellowknife wildfire
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2023.