B.C. ending state of emergency as wildfire risk winds down

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it is ending the state of emergency imposed last month when thousands of residents were chased out of their homes by wildfires.

The government says in a statement the wildfire risk is diminishing in much of the province as temperatures cool, allowing most residents to return home.

Bowinn Ma, B.C.'s minister of emergency management, says while the provincial state of emergency that lifts at the end of Thursday is no longer required, the wildfire season isn't over and many communities still have local states of emergency.

The provincial state of emergency was declared Aug. 18 as winds fanned fires into infernos in several areas, including the Kelowna and Shuswap regions, where most of the 400 homes and other structures destroyed this season were located.

Ma says conditions in northern B.C. continue to be very challenging, with 125 active fires in the Prince George Fire Centre.

This year has been a record for area burned at 23,750 square kilometres, and at the peak of wildfire situation, more than 70,000 people were on evacuation order or alert.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.

The Canadian Press