For immediate release
July 20, 2021
VICTORIA, B.C. – Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General declared a provincial state of emergency in response to the ongoing wildfires across British Columbia. Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement:
“Calling a state of emergency is a necessary step to better respond to the hundreds of wildfires blazing across our province. This state of emergency allows for more resources to be deployed and removes red tape from land management decisions and contracted work arrangements. This decision will support communities throughout the rest of the summer, but it is overdue.
“It is difficult to understand why the BC NDP is only acting now, when local representatives and experts have been calling for a state of emergency for weeks, and some taking matters into their own hands within their jurisdiction.
“We have gone from one state of emergency into another, on the heels of a record-shattering heat wave that killed hundreds of British Columbians in just a few days. B.C. is now facing a reality of extreme weather events like forest fires every single summer. This pattern is going to get worse if we fail to turn the tide on the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.
“Yet in the midst of these crises, we are seeing a pattern of reactive behaviour from the BC NDP and a failure to act with any of the urgency needed to prevent these events or support communities through them. Instead, the BC NDP government continues to subsidize fracking and fossil fuel expansion that is driving the climate crisis, doubling fossil fuel subsidies since they came into power.
“The BC NDP government knew these wildfires would happen and we should have been better prepared. The Abbott Chapman report made numerous recommendations to reduce wildfire risk and better prepare communities, but it’s been sitting on the shelf for years. Government needs to implement these recommendations with urgency and support the work of Indigenous and local communities to reduce fire risk, restore land, and build strengthened community ties in all regions of BC.
“Looking ahead, this government should be taking seriously the need to have effective air filtration and ventilation systems in all B.C. schools, to more sustainably manage our forests, and to prioritize adaptation to these worsening wildfire seasons.”
If you are in an area affected by wildfires, please visit EmergencyInfoBC for information on how to stay safe.
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | firstname.lastname@example.org