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Canada wildfires: At least 30,000 households told to evacuate as fires approach

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Fire approaches house in West Kelowna

By Jaroslav Lukiv & Aoife Walsh

BBC News

At least 30,000 households have been ordered to evacuate in Canada’s British Columbia province, where nearly 400 wildfires are raging.

Officials have restricted travel to Kelowna, a waterside city of 132,000 people, where smoke from nearby fires hangs over Lake Okanagan.

The order is designed to ensure enough accommodation for evacuees and emergency workers.

Fires have destroyed homes in nearby West Kelowna, a city of 36,000 people.

The travel restrictions also apply to the towns of Kamloops, Oliver, Penticton and Vernon and Osoyoos.

Hundreds of miles north, a huge fire continues to edge towards the city of Yellowknife.

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An official deadline to evacuate the city – the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories – lapsed on Friday. A local official said later that day that nearly all residents had left, either by car or plane.

About 19,000 of the city’s 20,000 inhabitants had evacuated. Authorities said 39 patients were moved out of a hospital to alternative facilities on Friday evening, making them the last people to be evacuated from the city. Buy Zoomies Gummies Online

Environment and communities minister Shane Thompson said some people had chosen “to shelter in place”, but urged locals to leave. Buy Zoomies Gummies Online

In British Columbia, evacuation orders grew from covering 15,000 homes on Friday to at least 30,000 by Saturday evening. Another 36,000 homes are under evacuation alert. Buy Zoomies Gummies Online

Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said officials “cannot stress strongly enough how critical it is to follow evacuation orders”. Buy Zoomies Gummies Online

“They are a matter of life and death not only for the people in those properties, but also for the first responders who will often go back to try to implore people to leave,” she said.

Premier of the province, David Eby, put the total number of people ordered to leave at 35,000, with 30,000 told to be prepared to evacuate. Buy Zoomies Gummies Online

Canada is having its worst wildfire season on record, with at least 1,000 fires burning across the country, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

Experts say climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.

Extreme and long-lasting heat draws more and more moisture out of the ground – which can provide fuel for fires that can spread at an incredible speed, particularly if winds are strong.

No deaths have been reported so far.

The coalition needs to gather about 75,000 certified signatures by December to make next year’s ballot.

Correction: this article was updated to clarify that the group Bay Staters for Natural Medicine has only endorsed one version of the ballot question.

Advocates are pushing to include a question on the 2024 ballot that would legalize the use of plant-based psychedelic substances for therapeutic use in Massachusetts.

The group, called Massachusetts for Mental Health Options, officially filed with the attorney general’s office Wednesday morning.

The proposed law would create a commission to regulate the use of plant-based psychedelic substances like psilocybin mushrooms. People 21 and older would be able to legally consume psychedelics at a licensed therapy center.

The measure would also decriminalize the possession of psychedelics like psilocybin, ibogaine and mescaline. Such substances remain illegal federally.

“We’re facing a severe mental health crisis in Massachusetts and across the country,” Winthrop police lieutenant Sarko Gergerian, one of the petition signers, said in a statement. “Natural psychedelic medicines have the potential to heal us in ways that no other therapy can.”

Magic mushrooms for your well-being? If you haven’t heard about psychedelics being used as a treatment for mental health disorders, this year may change that.

While this type of treatment won’t be accessible to everyone in 2022 (and will likely take a while to become widespread), experts say you should expect to hear much more about this emerging wellness trend this year and beyond.

“For a long time psychedelics have been sort of frowned upon,” says Amy Morin, psychotherapist and editor-in-chief at VeryWell Mind. “We thought that they were more recreational drugs, but with a closer look, we’ve seen they can actually be really good treatments for things like depression, anxiety, even substance abuse issues.”

The language is modeled on ballot questions that recently passed in Colorado and Oregon. The campaign is supported by the New Approach PAC, a federal group funded by major donors like David Bronner, of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps.

Massachusetts for Mental Health Options filed two slightly different versions of the ballot question with the attorney general’s office. Coalition spokesperson Jared Moffat said they would likely only move forward with gathering signatures for one.

Several Massachusetts communities — including Cambridge, Somerville, Salem and Northampton — have passed ordinances decriminalizing possession of psychedelics.

The local advocacy group that pushed for those measures, Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, on Wednesday endorsed the version of the ballot question that allows for the home cultivation of psychedelic plants.


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