Canadian PM tours wildfire devastation in BC

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Vancouver, Aug 1 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has toured central British Columbia (BC) by helicopter to get a glimpse of a charred landscape that has been scorched by wildfires in recent weeks.

The tour marks the Prime Minister’s first look at the crisis which has forced about 50,000 people from their homes over the past month, Xinhua news agency reported.

Trudeau said the main focus of his visit was to thank the wildfire first responders on behalf of all Canadians.

“I’ve seen people at the edge of exhaustion keep on pushing through, motivated by the tremendous support they’re getting from communities,” he said in Williams Lake, one of the hardest-hit area in the devastating wildfire season.

Williams Lake’s share of the crisis has eased in recent days, with most of its residents returning late last week to the city in the Cariboo region after a 12-day evacuation. About 6,000 people in BC remained away from their homes.

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Around 172 million Canadian dollars ($138 million) have been spent on the wildfire fight since April 1, said Kevin Skrepnek, BC’s Chief Fire Information Officer.

BC Premier John Horgan said firefighters were helping with the BC crisis from the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. US and Australian crews are also assisting the effort.

The BC province has extended its state of emergency until August 4.



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