07/07/2017 20:54 EDT | Updated 07/07/2017 21:21 EDT

NewsAlert: B.C. declares province-wide state of emergency as wildfires rage

100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. — A province-wide state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia after dozens of new wildfires broke out on Friday, destroying buildings and forcing thousands of people from their homes.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the "extraordinary step" of declaring an emergency is necessary in order to co-ordinate crisis response and ensure public safety given the urgency of the wildfire situation

Stone says there were 56 new blazes on Friday alone and that wildfire activity is expected to increase with hot, dry weather predicted in the coming days, along with thunderstorms forecast for many parts of the province.

More coming.