The end is near for British Columbia’s fire season, but the provincial emergency management minister says the “sleeping giant” in the season of natural disasters is drought.
Bowinn Ma’s comments came as she announced disaster financial assistance is available for local governments and First Nations areas that have been burned by the province’s largest fire season on record.
Ma says mid-September traditionally marks the end of the peak wildfire season and the province is “in the home stretch” but must remain prepared.
Adding to the record season where an estimated 2.2 million hectares of land has been burned, the minister says drought conditions this year are unlike any other the province has ever seen.
After a peak last month when an estimated 30,000 people were ordered out of their homes across the province, Ma says 3,800 people remain under evacuation order and another 34,000 are under alert.
She says over the last few days evacuation alerts covering approximately 30,000 people have been rescinded allowing “families to breathe a sigh of relief as the threat level has reduced.”
Ma says a damage estimate has not been completed but they know that “hundreds” of structures have been lost across the province.