B.C. premier defends not declaring state of emergency over wildfires

British Columbia Premier John Horgan says all hands are on deck in the wildfire fight and declaring a provincial state of emergency would have few advantages.

Opposition politicians and members of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District — where 13 per cent of the district is under an evacuation order or alert — are urging Horgan to declare the emergency.

More than 300 wildfires are burning in the province, affecting about 1,500 properties where residents were ordered to leave earlier this week and evacuation alerts remain up for many more, including the entire communities of 100 Mile House, Ashcroft and Cache Creek.

Horgan says he will declare a state of emergency only when advised to by firefighters and Emergency Management BC.

Environment Canada says heat warnings for parts of the central and southern Interior have ended but wildfire smoke means air quality advisories are posted for most of the eastern half of B.C., with conditions not expected to improve through the weekend.

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