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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province of B.C. has issued a provincial state of emergency due to forest fires.

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Emergency Management BC, this evening announced a provincial state of emergency to ensure a co-ordinated response to the current wildfire situation and to ensure public safety.

On Friday there have been 56 new wildfire starts throughout the province. Evacuation alerts and orders have been issued for Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Princeton. These are in addition to the evacuation orders and alerts issued Thursday for 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House. The extended weather forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather, with risks of thunderstorms in many parts of the province.

Given the current wildfire situation and the expected increase in wildfire activity, the Province is taking this extraordinary measure of declaring a provincial state of emergency.

This is an urgent situation and public safety is the top priority. The Province will continue to keep the public informed in this rapidly evolving situation.

The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight these wildfires and protect residents and their communities.

Declarations of provincial states of emergency are issued by the minister responsible under the Emergency Program Act. The last provincial declaration of state of emergency was issued in August 2003 to deal with wildfires.

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