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Premier to get first-hand look at fire damage in B.C.’s southern Interior

David Eby, cabinet ministers expected to tour wildfire epicentre today
Thick smoke from wildfires burning in the area hangs in the air as motorists travel on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday, August 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia Premier David Eby is scheduled to visit the province’s fire-ravaged southern Interior today, along with Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma and Forests Minister Bruce Ralston, to get a first-hand look at the devastation caused by raging wildfires.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Eby said the goal of the visit is to reassure people that the provincial government will be there to help them rebuild once the crisis has passed, but to also get information from the front line about what communities need.

There are more than 27,000 people under evacuation order in B.C. and more than 35,000 on evacuation alert as several large wildfires burn in the region, including the 110-square-kilometre McDougall Creek wildfire affecting West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country.

Local fire chiefs have confirmed homes have been destroyed in their communities, with West Kelowna sustaining the most losses at 50 properties and higher numbers still expected.

West Kelowna fire Chief Jason Brolund said Monday the estimate of 50 lost properties is bound to increase, noting a full accounting of the damage caused by the McDougall Creek fire has not been completed.

The BC Wildfire Service says 100 firefighters from Mexico are expected to arrive in B.C. today, and another 200 from South Africa by the end of the week.

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