Today’s Poll

Province extends state of emergency order for region, rest of province

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
August 6th, 2021

The heat is still on in the kitchen as the state of emergency in the region and across the province has been extended.

On Thursday the provincial government’s Department of Public Safety and Solicitor General added more days to the current state of emergency order existing province-wide.

Continued hot and dry weather bumped the order to Aug. 18 as 254 wildfires burn across B.C., with 60 burning in the Southeast Fire Centre, which includes Nelson.

While extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act are not needed at this time, the declaration gives the province the ability to move quickly, if the need arises.

The closest fire of note to Nelson continues to be the 5,200-hectare Trozzo Creek fire just 10 kilometres away from the city (but across the West Arm of Kootenay Lake).

Slightly further afield and of concern to North Shore residents is the Mount Ruppel fire, around 10 kilometres away to the north in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. The out-of-control blaze is currently at 1,980 ha.

The extension of the emergency order was made to “support the ongoing co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and ensure public safety,” with the continued dry, hot weather posing a high risk for potential wildfires.

In addition to the province-wide state of emergency order, there are 64 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,305 properties, with 99 evacuation alerts affecting approximately 21,049 properties.

“The people on the front lines of this year’s wildfire response are doing everything in their power to protect B.C. communities and keep British Columbians safe,” said Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

She said the province’s decision to extend the provincial state of emergency will “support the significant number of people who remain under evacuation orders and alerts, and continues to support the potential of a mass evacuation.”

The recent hot and dry spell is expected to continue as current weather forecasts will lend themselves to more severe fire behaviour and the potential for more evacuations.

Electrically charged situation

The hot and dry weather also prompted a climate change-related move.

Another six public electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations have been added to the region’s roster, including one directly in Nelson on Hall Street.

The move to encourage more electric vehicle use is welcome, said MLA for Nelson-Creston Brittny Anderson.

“With the recent heat wave, people across the Kootenays are more concerned about climate change than ever before and want to do what they can to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels,” she said in a press release.

“Installing nine new EV charging stations will make electric transportation more convenient and accessible.”

A total of nine new fast charging stations have opened between Fernie and Nelson, making it easier for people travelling highways 3, 3A and 95 to charge up their EVs.

Fast chargers allow EV drivers to get approximately 250 kilometres worth of charge per hour. The public charging stations are in the following locations:

• Washington Street, Rossland, one station, operated by FortisBC, open now;

• 1791 9 Ave., Fernie, one station, operated by Canadian Tire, planned to open summer 2021;

• Hall Street, Nelson, one station, operated by FortisBC, open now;

• Victoria Street, Trail, two stations, operated by FortisBC, open now;

• Cook Street, Creston, one station, operated by FortisBC, planned to open fall 2021;

• Sixth Avenue, Castlegar, one station, operated by FortisBC, planned to open fall 2021; and

• Ferry Terminal, Kootenay Bay, two stations, operated by FortisBC, planned to open summer 2021.

The investments are part of the province’s broader strategy to move toward 100 per cent new light-duty ZEV sales by 2040.

Source: Province of B.C.

Categories: General

Other News Stories