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B.C. Wildfires 2018: Local state of emergency declared on Vancouver Island

A growing wildfire west of Nanaimo, B.C., has prompted the regional government to declare a local state of emergency, and the evacuation of a number of homes Monday night.

The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire was last estimated at 107 hectares, more than doubling in size in just a few hours, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The Regional District of Nanaimo declared a local state of emergency. Monday at 7:45 p.m PT., and said residents of some homes to the west of the blaze have been ordered to leave. Another 77 homes are on evacuation alert.

As the wildfire season continues to intensify, international crews are arriving in B.C. to help fight wildfires across the province.

The wildfire service says that 60 personnel from Mexico and 60 more from New Zealand are set to arrive in the province on Monday.

Crews from Australia are scheduled to arrive later in the week.

Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek said international crews are a mix of “on-the-ground firefighters and highly specialized personnel.”

“This will be crucial to maintain not only our ability to respond right now but also casting out that we’re not really seeing relief in sight for the weather, ensuring that we have enough resources to get us through the rest of the summer,” he said.

Though the chance of lightning strikes has diminished, hot, dry conditions could stoke existing fires, Skrepnek said.

“We might not necessarily be seeing as many new fires starting on a day-to-day basis with that lightning starting to die out, but with the weather that we’ve got in the forecast, these fires are likely going to remain quite active,” he said.

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