140 of the 220 fire started on Friday. During the last two weeks the Cariboo, Kamploops and Southern British Columbia regions have recorded high temperatures and drought conditions.
More than 14,000 people have had to be evacuated in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the west of the country, where authorities declared Sunday a state of emergency for the first time in 14 years because of more than 220 active forest fires since last Friday. The Cariboo, Kamloops and other southern British Columbia regions have experienced unusual temperatures as high as 39 degrees during the last two weeks which, combined with drought conditions, have created a highly dangerous environment for forest fires.
The province’s current prime minister, Christy Clark, has announced the use of a $ 100 million rescue fund for affected communities, according to CBC.
The provincial fire brigade, Kevin Skrepnek, has explained that around 140 fires started on Friday, while another 100 were joined on Saturday. With the fires that started Sunday there are currently about 220 active fires.
Skrepnek has pointed out that the main task in which the firefighters are focusing is the protection of important infrastructures and communities in the area, in addition to keeping access roads open. “Given the movement of people and the evacuations (which are taking place) we want to ensure that these access routes are still available so that people can leave if necessary,” he said. “Unfortunately we expect extraordinary conditions of heat and drought in the foreseeable future,” he added.
The inhabitants fled the wildfires, particularly violent in the Kamloops and Cariboo region, and headed north to Prince Georges, where schools have been set up as evacue shelters.
Hundreds of firefighters from neighboring provinces were sent to support another 1,000 firefighters, who are increasing daily.
British Columbia declared the state of emergency for the last time in August 2003, also due to forest fires.