B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfires

The declaration is in effect for two weeks from the time it is issued and may be extended or rescinded as the situation develops.

The human cost has not been as high this year, but the total number of fires is greater, said Skrepnek.

"This state of emergency... basically ensures that federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a coordinated approach, which allows us to protect the public, which remains the provincial government's top priority", said Ryan Turcot with the BC Wildfire Service. "Taking this step will further ensure we can protect the public, property and infrastructure, and assist with firefighting efforts".

With the extended weather forecast calling for continued hot and dry conditions, as well as a risk of thunderstorms in some areas, things could get worse before they get better.

The provincial government requested federal government assistance to deal with wildfires on Monday, and personnel and resources are now on their way. A state of emergency declaration due to wildfires was also declared in 1996.

During the 2017 wildfire season, the province was in a provincial state of emergency for 10 weeks, from July 7 to September 15.

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It will be in place across the entire western province for at least 14 days.

The smoky air has prompted officials to issue alerts warning those with compromised health to stay inside and avoid strenuous exercise.

The province says 566 wildfires were burning across British Columbia on Tuesday, with evacuation orders covering more than 1,500 properties and affecting about 3,000 people. Another 48 evacuation alerts means another 18,720 people should be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice if the fires spread.

There are more than 40 wildfires burning on the north Island that were sparked by lightning over the weekend.

3,372 firefighters and contractors actively engaged in fighting fires in all fire regions of the province.

This is the second year in a row the province has battled significant wildfires on parts of its territory.

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