British Columbia

State of emergency extended until Sept. 1 as B.C. wildfire crisis continues

The B.C. government has extended a state of emergency for a third time since it was originally declared on July 1.

2017 is now the worst year on record in terms of hectares burned

A trailer parked at a campground in Savona, B.C., is seen as the Elephant Hill wildfire burns in the distance near Clinton in the early hours on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

B.C. has extended a state of emergency until Sept. 1 as wildfires continue to burn throughout the province.

This is the third extension issued since the state of emergency was originally declared on July 7, with previous extensions on July 19 and Aug. 4.

The state of emergency, which applies to the whole province, ensures that federal, provincial and local resources are co-ordinated to respond to the wildfire situation and maintain public safety.

It also makes the wildfire response the province's number 1 priority, and gives emergency resources special authority to deal with the firefighting efforts.

Worst year on record

There are currently 138 wildfires burning in B.C., with 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,400 people, and 40 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 20,700 people.

As of Thursday afternoon, $321.6 million had been spent by the B.C. Wildfire Service to fight the fires.

There have been 1,031 fires in the province since April 1, burning over 900,000 hectares of land, and making 2017 the worst wildfire season on record.

That record was previously set in 1958, when 855,000 hectares burned.

On Friday, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the B.C. Interior, warning of strong winds and potential thunderstorms over the weekend.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, fire crews are concerned that strong winds without substantial rain will fuel the many fires burning throughout the region. 

They're particularly concerned about the Hanceville-Riske Creek fire and the Elephant Hill fire, which haven't experienced significant growth since Wednesday.