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Forest fires sweep across western Canada, disrupting industry

Staff Writer |
Forest fires caused by strong winds have been sweeping over British Columbia Province in western Canada for more than a week, forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

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The Canadian government has declared a state of emergency to address the severity of the situation on July 7.

Currently 3,000 firefighters, including 415 sent in from surrounding provinces, and 203 aircraft are involved in battling the fires, while this operation has cost Canadian authorities more than $80 million, said Canadian Minister of Forests John Rustad, CBC broadcaster reported.

Rapidly spreading wildfires have not only driven thousands more out of their homes, but also disrupted the timber and mining industries.

"Employees who have been able to report for work have been reassigned to maintain mill operations at the expense of mining operations, which have significantly reduced," Imperial Metals Corp. said.

"Should critical supplies such as fuel not be available due to road closures, the mine may be forced to suspend operations."

The massive wildfires also compressed the supply of wood products and raised prices when they disrupted some forestry companies' timber operations, analysts said.

A total of 178 wildfires were reported to be actively blazing in British Columbia, the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System said Sunday.

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