B.C. officials said Tuesday that a decision to declare a state of emergency due to wildfires will depend on advice from the B.C. Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC.
“It’s not a political decision,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said. “It is done on the basis of the advice of the men and women in the B.C. Wildfire Service.”
Farnworth, along with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Forestry Minister Katrine Conroy, met with representatives from Lytton, the small village that was levelled by fire last week.
Horgan said they flew over Lytton to get a bird’s eye view of the town and there is “literally nothing left.”
Horgan said that Lytton’s rebuild can be a case study for North America on building a community for the future.
There are currently 214 active fires burning in B.C. with 39 sparked in the last 48 hours. About a third of the fires burning are suspected to be caused by lightning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.
The Sparks Lake fire, northwest of Kamloops, remains the biggest in the province at more than 39,000 hectares in size.
A provincial state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ended last week after first going into effect in March of last year.
— With files from Amy Judd and The Canadian Press