The disastrous wildfire raging in Fort McMurray, Alta., has forced premiers in Western Canada to push emergency management to the front of the agenda at their meeting in Vancouver this week.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will no longer attend the 2016 Western Premiers' Conference on Thursday and Friday. Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman, who also serves as the province's health minister, will replace Ms. Notley.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, who will play host to the annual gathering, said emergency management will be at the forefront of discussions as the blaze in northern Alberta has forced about 90,000 people to leave their homes.
"Alberta's in the midst of it at the moment, but every other Western province experiences forest fires, floods, concerns about earthquakes and other disasters," Ms. Clark said Wednesday. "So that's going to be a major focus for us."
Ms. Clark said much of the conference would also focus on the economy, given what she described as Western Canada's role in a national context.
"We have traditionally been the economic engine of the country for the last decade," she said.
The meeting will also place attention on job creation, immigration and infrastructure investment, and Ms. Clark said she will urge her counterparts to reach consensus on renegotiating a softwood lumber deal with the United States.
Two provincial elections have taken place since last year's conference, and premiers will be making room for a new face at the table.
Brian Pallister was officially sworn into office in Manitoba on Tuesday, two days before the scheduled meeting begins.
The premiers of Canada's northern territories will also attend the event.