Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Emergency Management BC, announced a provincial state of emergency on Friday, July 7 2017 to ensure a coordinated response to the current wildfire situation and to ensure public safety.
On Friday, there were 56 new wildfire starts throughout the province; overnight, over 100 other fires began in BC, some caused by lightning, others by people. It’s assumed there are currently over 180 fires in BC (see the full map below). Evacuation alerts and orders have been issued for Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Princeton. These are in addition to the evacuation orders and alerts issued yesterday for 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House. The extended weather forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms in many parts of the province.
According to the BC Wildfire website, the suspected causes of the current eight Fires of Note are as follows:
- Dragon Mountain (120 HA, south of Quesnel): Lightning
- Spokin Lake (25 HA burning near 150 Mile House): Person
- Chief William (1,000 HA burning near 150 Mile House): Person
- North of Williams Lake (2,000 HA burning north of YWL airport): Not stated
- Gustafsen Fire (1,800 HA burning near 100 Mile House): Person
- Ashcroft Reserve (3,900 HA burning): Person
- Princeton (1,500 HA burning, 10 km N/E of Princeton): Not stated
- Harrison Lake (135 HA burning, Harrison Lake East): Person
To put this into perspective, the recent two-day fire at Mount Manual Quimper in Saseenos (also Person caused), Sooke, was 1.2 (that’s one point two) HA at its peak. (See Mt. Manual Quimper fire day 2: Partially contained, and still burning (photos) and Brush fire in Harbourview area, Saseenos for write-ups on that fire.)
Given the current wildfire situation and the expected increase in wildfire activity, the Province is taking this extraordinary measure of declaring a provincial state of emergency.
This is an urgent situation and public safety is the top priority. The Province will continue to keep the public informed in this rapidly evolving situation.
The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight these wildfires and protect residents and their communities.
- Declarations of provincial states of emergency are issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The last provincial declaration of state of emergency was issued in August 2003 to deal with wildfires.
- For information on evacuation orders and alerts, visit Emergency Info BC
- Keep up-to-date on the provincial wildfire situation, visit BC Wildfire.ca