State of Emergency in BC
On August 1, 2003, the government of British Columbia declared a state of emergency in response to the numerous forest fires in the province. The state of emergency was lifted on September 14, 2003. A provincial declaration of a state of emergency is rarely made in British Columbia. The only previous declaration ever made was in response to the 1998 Silver Creek fire in Salmon Arm
State of Emergency Legislation
For more information, British
Columbia Emergency Program Act
After a declaration of a state of emergency is made, the government may do all acts and implement all procedures that it considers necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the emergency or disaster. Some important powers that the government may implement under a state of emergency include:
Emergency Management Structure
When British Columbia calls a state of emergency, the government implements a particular emergency command structure. The Premier is at the top of this hierarchy, with the coordination of government programs and initiatives being done by the Central Coordination Group at the Provincial Emergency Coordination Centre in Victoria. This emergency management structure is as follows:
2003 Declaration of State of Emergency
August 1, 2003 The government declares a provincial state of emergency in the Thompson-Nicola regional district to assist with fighting forest fires in McLure, Barriere and surrounding areas. The state of emergency gives the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, the RCMP and the Provincial Emergency Program authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight the fires and protect residents and their communities.
August 2, 2003 The government extends provincial state of emergency province-wide as intensive firefighting efforts continue across British Columbia. The province-wide state of emergency enables the government to draw resources from across the province to fight fires. The province also calls in Canadian military resources to assist provincial fire crews.
August 29, 2003 The government extends the province-wide state of emergency for another two weeks in response to the continuing extreme fire hazard in BCs southeast, the southern interior and the coast.
September 14, 2003 British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell lifts the province-wide state of emergency, citing control of the forest fires by BC Forest Services. The lifting of the state of emergency ends extra-ordinary powers temporarily held by the provincial government to fight the forest fires.