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Canada wildfires trigger state of emergency declarations 

Canada’s British Columbia has declared a state of emergency as the country continues to battle wildfires in a season described as unprecedented. 

“There are numerous fires across the province threatening communities. Thousands of people are under evacuation orders, and tens of thousands more are on evacuation alert,” British Columbia Premier David Eby and Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said on Friday. 

The Northwest Territories declared a state of emergency earlier last week as conditions deteriorated and communities faced increased risk. 

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the wildfire season has already exceeded all records in terms of area burned in British Columbia and across Canada. 

“Over the past few days, thousands of individuals and families have been forced to evacuate from the affected regions, including the entire city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories,” IBC Western and Pacific Vice-President Aaron Sutherland said. 

“Several communities in both British Columbia and Northwest Territories are reporting damage to personal residences and commercial structures due to the wildfires. At this time, it is too early to provide any estimates of insured damages, as wildfires are still raging in various regions.” 

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says 1038 active fires are burning across the country, including 657 that are out of control. Some 14.1 million hectares have been burned in the year to date. 

The nation experienced an active and early start to the wildfire season, with blazes several months ago extending across the country and affecting eastern provinces including Nova Scotia 

International firefighting assistance this season has come from countries including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and the US.