Monday August 28, 2023 | VANCOUVER, BC [Updated 5:50 pm]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Another BC Wildfire update was delivered today Monday August 28, by Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma, together with Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, and staff of BC Wildfire. They addressed media from Vancouver.
These updates have happened fairly regularly during this hot dry summer in BC.
Many people on evacuation order or alert:
As of today there are 8,000 under evacuation order and 54,000 under evacuation alert.
Ways to donate:
Donation of goods and services can be a logistical challenge, said Minister Ma.
Four months into wildfire season:
“We are still in the midst of one of our most challenging wildfire seasons on record,” said Minister Ralston. Many wildfires remain highly active. Dry hot weather is contributing to the continuation of the wildfire season.
This is the fourth month of wildfire activity, said Ralston, itemizing that there are currently 376 active fires (12 of note).
Hot weather on top of extended drought has contributed to the length and intensity of this year’s wildfire season, said Cliff Chapman, Director of Wildfire Operations, BC Wildfire Service.
International resources include firefighters here from Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia.
Aviation costs are significant:
The BC government says it has spent $585 million so far this year on fighting wildfires. That’s a combination of the BC Wildfire Service plus Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as Agriculture and Food, noted Minister Ma.
The wildfire management budget is about 40 percent on aviation assets (fixed wing and rotary wing aircrafts including 35 right now, and 130 helicopters right now) and 60 percent on everything else, said Chapman today.
“Firefighting is an inherently expensive response business to get into. Those aviation aspects really add up, in addition to ground resources whether from BC or beyond,” he said today.
People should continue to consider using an N95 mask when spending time outdoors on smoky-air days, said Ma.
Emergency Management legislation update:
An overhaul of the Emergency Management Act will be tabled in the BC Legislative Assembly in the 2023 fall session, said Ma.