B.C. wildfires 'graphic' evidence of climate change, premier says

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CASTLEGAR, B.C. — B.C. Premier John Horgan says officials are in talks with the United States and Australia about potential support in fighting some 300 wildfires scorching the province, but COVID-19 and the wildfire situation elsewhere is limiting the help that's available.

Horgan made the comments during a news conference today from Castlegar, where he was touring the BC Wildfire Service's Southeast Fire Centre.

More than 3,000 firefighters and support staff are on the fire lines, including crews from Alberta, New Brunswick and Quebec, while about 100 firefighters from Mexico are due to arrive this weekend.

The federal government is also sending 350 Canadian Armed Forces members to help the province's wildfire efforts.

Horgan says the wildfires have ignited just as British Columbia's tourism industry was hoping to begin its recovery from the pandemic, but he promised the province will work with industry and labour groups to support them.

He encouraged anyone with trips planned near the fire zones to check with local resources, including their accommodation providers, to ensure it's safe to travel before leaving.

Hundreds more have joined the thousands already forced from their homes by wildfires as several local governments ordered residents to get out Tuesday night ahead of nearby blazes.

"For those living through yet another horrific fire season, this is a graphic reminder of how climate change is with us, not just intermittently, but all the time," Horgan said.

"We all have to hang together as British Columbians and follow the lead of emergency personnel."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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