British Columbia Declares State of Emergency as Worst Ever Wildfires Ravage Canada

Julia Schneemann | FireFire
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Shocking wildfires are ravaging Kelowna, BC. | Picture: Amanda Little

The Canadian state of British Columbia declared a state of emergency and ordered a total of 15,000 households to evacuate. Another 20,000 households in the area are under alert. Areas with evacuation orders include Kelowna, a city of 36,000 inhabitants about 50 minutes from Big White Ski Resort.

While the ski resort is currently not under threat, the smoke reaches to Big White and the resort reminded locals and visitors to the region to be prepared and have a 72 hour ‘grab and go’ bag ready and to sign up for area emergency alerts.

Are you ready — Big White Ski Resort reminded people to be ready. | Picture: Big White Ski Resort Facebook

Officials are calling these the worst ever wildfires not just in British Columbia but in all of Canada. British Columbia’s premier, David Elby, said in a press release: “This year, we are facing the worst wildfire season ever in British Columbia. Over the past 24 hours, the situation has evolved rapidly and we are in for an extremely challenging situation in the days ahead. There are numerous fires across the province threatening communities. Thousands of people are under evacuation orders, and tens of thousands more are on evacuation alert.”

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Google map of current wildfires in British Columbia. | Picture: Google Maps

“We will get through this together.”

“Given these fast-moving conditions, the Province of British Columbia is declaring a provincial state of emergency, under the authority of the Emergency Program Act, to ensure we are in a position to rapidly access any tools we need to support communities as the situation evolves.”

Over 380 wildfires are currently ripping through western Canada territories according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. As of Friday, August 18, 2023, the fires have burned through over 34 million acres, an area larger than the state of New York, making it the worst Canadian wildfires on record.

Kelowna is situated on Lake Okanagan. | Picture: Kelowan Facebook

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