The provincial state of emergency has been lifted in British Columbia as the record-breaking wildfire season winds down.
The B.C. government cancelled the state of emergency, which covers the entire province, on Friday due to cooler weather and progress by firefighters in containing the wildfires across the province. The province said during the past week, there was a significant reduction in the number of properties under an evacuation order and many people are returning home.
The state of emergency was declared on Aug. 15, 2018, and extended once. It allowed for better co-ordination between the BC Wildfire Service, local authorities, First Nations and federal partners to contain and extinguish the fires.
This year’s wildfire season is the worst on record in terms of hectares burned. To date, more than 1.3 million hectares has burned in the province, compared to last year’s total 1,216,053 hectares. As of Friday morning, 485 wildfires are burning in B.C. There are 19 evacuation orders affecting approximately 1,994 people, plus 39 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 4,848 people.
One of those evacuation orders remains in effect for six houses on the east side of Pandora Hill and north of the Sugarloaf Bridge on the Zeballos River in Zeballos, as the Gold Valley Main wildfire continues to burn. There is also an evacuation alert for the area east of the Zeballos River (town side). As of Friday morning, the fire is 40 per cent contained and is at 168 hectares. It is now considered to be held, which means there has been sufficient suppression of the wildfire and it is not likely to spread beyond existing or predetermined boundaries under the prevailing and forecasted conditions.