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Premier tours forest fire fighting operations

John Horgan warns fire season could last weeks or months
wildfire_2021-creditBCWildfireService
There are currently 296 wildfires burning in B.C. and more than 3,000 firefighters trying to put them out

Premier John Horgan warned forest fires that have prompted a state of emergency could last weeks or even months during a tour of forest fire operations Wednesday in Castlegar.

There are currently 296 wildfires burning in B.C. and more than 3,000 firefighters trying to put them out. There are currently 44 evacuation orders in effect and another 74 evacuation alerts.

A provincial state of emergency officially went into effect at midnight.

It's still early in the fire season, and the situation is already bad. Forecasts for winds and continued dry weather will only worsen the situation.

"The weather forecasts are grim," Horgan said. 

Wine country is particularly challenged by fire, as some of the most intense fires are racing the south Okaganan between Osoyoos and Oliver.

For tourism, the fires come at a bad time. Now that pandemic restrictions are being relaxed, B.C.'s tourism industry looked forward to the return of tourists this summer, but now there is a fear that tourists may avoid parts of the province like the Okanagan.

More to come

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv