The BC Government has declared a provincial state of emergency in response to the increasing number and severity of wildfires. This declaration comes as more than 294 wildfires continue to burn, and on the same day that UBCM delivered a request for additional provincial support to address the situation.
The provincial state of emergency, implemented under the authority of the Emergency Program Act, will remain in effect for 14 days unless extended. It grants extraordinary powers and response tools to Emergency Management BC, relevant provincial ministries, the fire commissioner and police to combat wildfires while protecting the public.
“UBCM supports this decision by the province,” said UBCM President Brian Frenkel. “Three of the last five years have been the worst fire seasons on record, and there has been a high cost to local governments, both in terms of community impacts and the need to provide aid and help to the provincial wildfire team. With an ever-changing climate, local governments will continue to adapt and combat the crisis we all face. UBCM's thoughts are with all the communities that are currently being affected by this year's fire season.”
Last week, Thompson Nicola Regional District voted unanimously to call on the province to invoke a state of emergency. UBCM Executive discussed the wildfire situation at its most recent meeting and endorsed a request to the province for additional resources.
This declaration comes one week after the Province invoked Article 9.1 of the Municipal Police Service Agreement, permitting the temporary re-deployment of police resources for the purpose of addressing the ongoing wildfires.
More information regarding active wildfires may be found through the Province’s Wildfire Dashboard.