For Immediate Release
Aug. 29, 2003

Office of the Premier


VICTORIA - In a statement today, Premier Gordon Campbell extended the
provincewide state of emergency and asked for British Columbians' help in
ensuring mutual safety over the weekend.

"Over the Labour Day weekend, I hope many British Columbians and visitors
will explore and experience new destinations in our province. However, I
want to urge everyone to take extra care and act responsibly when enjoying
the outdoors.

"Yesterday, the Minister of Forests and the Minister of Water, Land and Air
Protection upgraded last week's backcountry travel advisory to a travel
restriction, which covers Crown land in the southern third of the province.
This extraordinary measure is unfortunate but vital. This is the driest
summer in B.C.'s history and, with nearly 2,200 fires so far this fire
season, we must remain vigilant about maintaining public safety as our top
priority. I want to thank British Columbians and visitors for their
understanding and assure them that decisions about these measures were not
made lightly.

"Due to the risks and effects of the ongoing wildfires, I have signed an
order to extend the provincewide state of emergency for two more weeks. This
order will help our experts to continue to access every necessary resource
to fight the wildfires and assist victims with their day-to-day needs.

"On behalf of all British Columbians, I want to express again our continuing
gratitude to the brave and tenacious firefighters, military personnel,
provincial emergency employees, local governments and volunteers involved in
safeguarding people, their property and their treasures. We all are indebted
to you for your unrelenting dedication in this time of great need."