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Massive wildfires in British Colombia, people evacuate-Tatva

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Massive wildfires in British Colombia, people evacuate-Tatva

Canada’s western province of British Colombia announced a state of emergency, to access temporary authoritative powers to tackle fire-related risks as a wildfire in the province raged and went out of control, partially shutting some sections of a key highway between the Pacific coast and the rest of western Canada, and destroying many properties.

Forest fires in Canada’s western province of British Columbia intensified on Saturday, with the number of people under evacuation orders doubling from a day earlier, as authorities warned of difficult days ahead. “The current situation is grim,” Premier David Eby told reporters, saying some 35,000 people were under an evacuation order, and a further 30,000 were under an evacuation alert.

Eby said the province is in dire need of shelter for evacuees and firefighters and also ordered a ban on non-essential travel to make more temporary accommodation available. Officials also urged residents to avoid operating drones in the fire zone, saying it could impede firefighting efforts.

Forest fires are common in Canada but this year’s wildfires have been extremely dangerous and it has been the worst wildfire season yet for the region. The fire is centred around Kelowna, a city some 300 kilometres east of Vancouver, with a population of about 1,50,000. About 140,000 square kilometres of land, have already burned, and government officials project the fire season could stretch into autumn due to widespread drought-like conditions in Canada.

British Colombia had experienced strong winds and dry lightning over the past few days which intensified existing forest fires and ignited new ones. “We are still in some critically dry conditions, and are still expecting difficult days ahead,” said Jerrad Schroeder, deputy fire centre manager at the Kamloops Fire Centre. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a meeting of key ministers and senior officials on Saturday to discuss the recent wildfires.

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