State of emergency prompted by B.C. wildfires extended two more weeks

The Nk'Mip Creek fire north of Osoyoos, B.C., is seen from the RCMP perimeter on Monday, July 19, 2021. (Kyle Murray)

The B.C. government has extended the state of emergency prompted by the province's ongoing wildfire situation for another two weeks.

The extension was announced Tuesday as thousands of B.C. residents remained under evacuation orders and alerts as a result of some of the 254 wildfires burning across the province.

"As we have seen over the past number of weeks, the continued dry, hot weather poses a high risk for potential wildfires," Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said in a statement.

"The province will continue to support British Columbians with all of the tools they may need if they end up facing an evacuation order."

Declaring a state of emergency gives officials extraordinary powers when dealing with a crisis, though Emergency Management B.C. said such measures are "not needed at this time."

During the record-breaking state of emergency that lasted for more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, those powers were used to implement B.C.'s travel restrictions and other rules intended to slow the spread of the virus.

Earlier on Tuesday, officials from the B.C. Wildfire Service warned the rainfall seen in parts of the province over the long weekend would only bring temporary relief. (LINK TO TESSA)

"The rain received over the weekend has curbed the fire behaviour," said Rob Schweitzer, director of fire centre operations.

"However, the amount of rain was not enough to make any long-term impact and we'll see returns to those extremely dry conditions."

The current state of emergency is scheduled to last until Aug. 18, though officials can choose to end it early or extend it again.