Premier travels to central B.C. to meet first responders battling wildfires

Premier travels to central B.C. to meet first responders battling wildfires

Premier John Horgan, joined by Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and a First Nations leader in Prince George Tuesday.

Premier John Horgan in Prince George Tuesday, touring wildfire-ravaged areas in central B.C. and meeting with first responders.

Premier John Horgan says wildfires burning in the province are becoming all too common and previous governments had budgeted “laughable” amounts to fight them.

The B.C. premier made those comments during a media conference Tuesday morning in Prince George as he meets with fire crews battling numerous blazes in the region.

Horgan said he is confident there are enough funds to support wildfire evacuees and also help rebuild after flooding this spring in southern B.C.

The province declared a state of emergency last week because of the wildfires and at the time had spent $214 million this summer’s wildfire season.

The province spent $332 million during the 2017 wildfire season.

This is the second year in a row Horgan’s government has declared a provincial state of emergency because of wildfires in the province.

Until last year, the province had not been under a state of emergency since 2003.

Horgan said it is unprecedented for the province to call a second state of emergency in less than 12 months.

“It speaks to the changing environment we live in and the ravages of climate change,” the premier said.

Horgan is expected to visit Burns Lake where evacuation orders and alerts have been issued east, south and southwest of the village because of three out-of-control fires.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says there are around 50 wildfires burning on Vancouver Island, including three of note.

The Gold Valley Main fire, which has prompted a local state of emergency and evacuation order for six properties in the village of Zeballos, is estimated to be 90 hectares in size.

To the north, an estimated 105-hectare blaze is burning at Pinder Creek and there is a 10-hectare fire at Larry Lake, northwest of Port Alice.

Lightning caused all three of those fires.


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