Wildfires have been burning across the province of British Columbia for quite some time now.

Today, provincial authorities have decided that the situation has become so bad that it has declared a full provincial state of emergency.

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Here’s what that means for the province. 

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The state of emergency means that resources from the provincial, federal and local levels can be used in a fully organized response to protect the residents of B.C. who are affected by the fires.

The state of emergency will be in place for the next 14 days, at which point it can be lifted or extended further.

Right now, there are a total of 566 wildfires burning across B.C., many of which are not under control. 

Around 3,050 people in the province have been forced to leave their homes because of evacuation orders.

Around 18,720 more residents are under evacuation alert right now, meaning that they could be ordered to pack up and leave at a moment's notice. Many believe that the situation will get worse before it gets better.

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The state of emergency was officially declared by Mike Farnworth, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. 

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“Public safety is always our first priority, and as wildfire activity is expected to increase, this is a progressive step in our wildfire response to make sure British Columbia has access to any and all resources necessary,” Farnworth said in a release.

This is the second year in a row that the province has had to take this drastic action due to wildfires.

Last year, a provincial state of emergency was in effect from July 7th to September 15th. Before that, the most recent state of emergency caused by fires was in 2003. 

Source: Global News

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