Massive wildfires sweep across Canadian province

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Ottawa, July 17 (IANS) Massive wildfires fuelled by strong winds have been sweeping over Canada’s British Columbia province for more than a week, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

As of Sunday, a total of 178 wildfires were reported to be actively blazing in British Columbia, according to the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System.

The Canadian government has declared a state of emergency to address the severity of the situation that began on July 7, reports Xinhua news agency.

Currently 3,000 firefighters, including 415 sent in from surrounding provinces, and 203 aircraft are involved in battling the fires, while this operation has cost Canadian authorities more than $80 million, said Canadian Minister of Forests John Rustad.

The rapidly spreading fires have also disrupted the timber and mining industries.

“Employees who have been able to report for work have been reassigned to maintain mill operations at the expense of mining operations, which have significantly reduced,” Imperial Metals Corp. said.

“Should critical supplies such as fuel not be available due to road closures, the mine may be forced to suspend operations.”

–IANS

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