Canada's British Columbia introduces travel restriction amid wildfire crisis
Canada's British Columbia government said Saturday it will implement a restriction on non-essential travel to areas affected by wildfires amid its state of emergency.
David Eby, premier of the province, announced the order at a news conference Saturday afternoon to free up accommodations for evacuees. The government has declared a provincial state of emergency as thousands evacuated from their homes.
Under the order, the government is restricting tourist-related, non-essential travel to communities including Kelowna, Kamloops, Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton and Vernon for anyone planning to stay in temporary accommodation.
The government will ensure that sufficient temporary accommodations are available to those evacuating or involved in fighting fires, Eby said, adding that there are some 35,000 people on evacuation orders across the province and another 30,000 on evacuation alert.
"We have an urgent need for more accommodation," he said.
According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, there are 1,039 active forest fires in Canada as of Saturday, around 380 of which are in British Columbia with more than 160 out of control.