British Columbia

Horgan extends provincial state of emergency, announces more funds for wildfire evacuees

Newly sworn in B.C. Premier John Horgan has extended the state of emergency in the province by two weeks, and announced increased funding for evacuees.

Additional $600 available to evacuee households for every 14-day period they are forced out of their homes

B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced additional support for people affected by wildfires. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

British Columbians impacted by wildfires will have access to additional funding through the Red Cross, while the state of emergency in the province has been extended by two weeks.

The announcement was made by John Horgan, one day after he was sworn in at the 36th premier of B.C.

Horgan called the wildfire emergency in B.C. "unprecedented."

"It's clear to me that we need to do more," he said.

Horgan said an additional $600 will now be available for every 14 day period people are evacuated from their homes. Evacuees initially had a one-time payment of $600 available to each household.

"Traditionally when an emergency is declared, people are back in their homes within the two-week period," he said.

"That may not be the case for many individuals, and, in fact, there are still those affected by floods in the Okanagan that are out of their homes for beyond the 14 day period. They, too, will be captured by this increase in funds."

Additionally, the provincial state of emergency that was set to expire at midnight July 21, has now been extended by two weeks, allowing fire and emergency personnel, law enforcement and government authorities increased powers to deal with evacuations and wildfires.

Horgan also announced a cabinet committee to deal with the ongoing wildfire emergency which will be co-chaired by Forest Minister Doug Donaldson and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

"In the days ahead we'll make other announcements to ensure that emergency personnel... and firefighters have everything that they need," said Horgan.

"But we wanted to say on the first day of John Horgan's administration that we're going to put the appropriate ministers in place on a task force basis to ensure that we're monitoring on an hourly basis the challenges faced by British Columbians in our interior."