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Canadian province declares wildfires emergency

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Canada’s British Columbia province has declared a state of emergency as wildfires threaten properties amid hot and dry conditions, while large blazes are also affecting parts of the western US.

British Columbia’s declaration was made on Tuesday as 299 wildfires burned in the province and with forecasts of continuing difficult weather conditions.

As of Saturday, 58 evacuation orders covering 4403 properties and 81 evacuation alerts covering 17,489 properties were in place.

The Canadian Government last week announced the latest funding application phase under its Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund program, launched in 2018 to boost resilience. The fund received an additional $C1.375 billion ($1.48 billion) over ten years in this year’s Budget.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the country needs to create a culture of preparedness as climate change presents a serious challenge and has a serious and growing impact on communities.

“More and bigger floods, wildfires, hailstorms and windstorms, influenced by our changing climate, are costing billions and putting people and property at risk,” IBC Vice President Federal Affairs Craig Stewart said. “These perils are having an outsized impact on indigenous peoples and other vulnerable communities.”

In the US, the National Interagency Fire Centre says 86 large fires have burned 1.5 million acres in 12 states, including California, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Idaho.

“The commitment of resources to wildfires continues as more than 22,200 wildland fire fighters and incident management teams are assigned,” it said.