In support of the response to the ongoing wildfire situation in B.C., the province has declared a state of emergency.
The State of Emergency will last for the next two weeks and may be extended if necessary.
It applies to the whole province and ensures federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the public.
In what is starting to feel like a new normal for this time of year, much of Canada's British Columbia province is struggling under stifling smoke caused by hundreds of forest fires that continue to burn across the province.
The provincial wildfire service says more than 1,800 wildfires have been recorded since April 1, destroying about 3.800-square kilometres of brush. Nearly 20,000 people were impacted by the fires and evacuation orders, according to Global News.
Farnworth, who is also the province's solicitor general, said the emergency was declared based on recommendations from the BC Wildfire Service and emergency management officials.
Across the province, many areas have been under hazy or smoky skies for days or even weeks, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley where the air quality health index was rated 9 on a 1-10 scale on Wednesday morning.
"Public safety is always our first priority", said B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth in a statement, calling the declaration a "progressive step" as wildfire activity is expected to increase.
There are 53 evacuation alerts affecting 23,550 people and 29 evacuation orders affecting 3060 people across BC.
Over 3,000 people are under evacuation orders and another 18,700 are under evacuation alerts.
On Monday, the British Columbia government formally requested help from the federal government, which responded by sending 200 troops as well as military aircraft to help contain and "mop up" the wildfires.
Crews have responded to almost 1,800 wildfires since April 1.
More than 3,372 firefighters and contractors are fighting the fires. Skrepnek said majority would likely be sent to the Okanagan to help with wildfire mop-up.