British Columbia

B.C. state of emergency ends as wildfire conditions improve

Cooler weather and progress by fire crews has led to the B.C. government ending the state of emergency covering the entire province Friday.

Metro Vancouver also ends air quality advisory

Firefighter Christian Garcia deals with hotspots in an area burned by the Shovel Lake wildfire near Endako, B.C., in August. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Cooler weather and progress by fire crews has led the B.C. government to end the state of emergency covering the entire province Friday.

The state of emergency, which was declared Aug. 15, was in place as hundreds of wildfires were burning through the province.

"This past week, there was a significant reduction in the number of properties under evacuation order and many residents are now returning home," a statement from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General read.

"As such, the province has decided that the powers granted under a provincial state of emergency are no longer required."

The province said the weather has been cooperating lately and resources have been redeployed to tackle the remaining fires.

Almost 500 active fires still burning

As of Friday morning, the province said, there were still 485 active wildfires in B.C.

It said 19 evacuation orders are still in place, affecting almost 2,000 people. Thirty-nine evacuation alerts still remain, affecting more than 4,800 people.

A state of emergency ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public.

The 2017 wildfire season also prompted a state of emergency, which lasted for more than two months.

Air quality advisory over

The changing weather has also brought improvements in air quality in Metro Vancouver. The regional district ended an air quality advisory for fine particulate matter Friday morning.

"Air quality has improved due to clean air pushing wildfire smoke out of the region," the district wrote in a statement. "A significant change in the weather is also forecast to bring cooler temperatures and some precipitation to the region over the next week."

Through much of the province, fire bans have also been rescinded.

The forests ministry said in a statement that it has fully rescinded bans in the Prince George Fire Centre, Cariboo Fire Centre and Kamloops Fire Centre.

Bans in the Coastal Fire Centre, Southeast Fire Centre and Northwest Fire Centre have been partially rescinded, depending on the specific area. The ministry advised checking with local authorities before lighting fires in those regions.

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