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B.C. wildfire crisis forces evacuation of over 7,000 residents from homes

Posted on July 10, 2017
Wildfire in rural British Columbia

British Columbia is dealing with one of the worst Canadian wildfire situations in recent memory.

 

Though it isn't quite on the level of the horrific Fort McMurray disaster that occurred last year, the 200-plus wildfires that have engulfed the province have already forced the evacuation of over 7,000 residents from their homes and prompted B.C. to declare a state of emergency. The fires are the culmination of multiple weeks of hot and dry conditions, pushed over the edge by a mixture of lightning and instances of people sparking the flames.

 

The largest of the wildfires emerged in Ashcroft, a village that lies slightly west of Kamloops and well north of Vancouver. The 4,400 hectare blaze has already destroyed dozens of buildings in Ashcroft and extended well into the nearby Cache Creek area.

 

Assistance has arrived, both physically and financially. Approximately 1,000 firefighters have been diligently working across the 24,000 hectares of affected land to contain the fires and help residents evacuate. They are expected to be joined by over 300 other firefighters from Alberta, Ontario, and elsewhere across Canada.

 

Premier Christy Clark announced this weekend that $100-million of provincial funding would be going towards Red Cross-sponsored efforts to provide assistance in the region. That organization is highly experienced in providing quick relief, as it did for the Fort McMurray disaster a year ago.

 

Provincial and federal response teams are busy evaluating the situation and deciding what alternate measures must be taken. One form of assistance that appears to be on the horizon is for members of the Canadian Armed Forces to come in and provide help.

 

On Saturday the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) issued a statement on the wildfires.

 

"Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been disrupted and whose homes have been destroyed. The priority right now is the safety of those affected and their loved ones," read the IBC statement.

 

"Most home and business insurance policies cover fire damage. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities, most homeowner's and tenant's insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time.

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