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Western Canada Wildfires Force 45,000 to Evacuate

July 19, 2017 02:28 PM

VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) - British Columbia is extending a state of emergency for two more weeks as wildfires sweeping across the province's interior show no sign of slowing.

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Premier John Horgan says his government's first priority is to support the more than 45,000 people displaced by the fires, which have so far torched more than 1,235 square miles (3,200 square kilometers) of land.

The state of emergency was set to expire Friday, and Horgan said Wednesday he regrets having to extend it.

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced Monday that Ottawa was deploying military aircraft and Australia was sending 50 firefighters to battle the wildfires.

The entire city of Williams Lake, six hours northeast of Vancouver, was ordered evacuated on the weekend. The community has a population of over 10,000.

Wind over the weekend also caused a flare-up of a huge fire that started near the Ashcroft Indian Band reserve, which has charred just over 154-square miles (400-square kilometers) west of Kamloops.


WDIO

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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