News

B.C.'s forest fire bills piling up

Fire at Eutsuk Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park consumes forest interspersed with beetle-killed pine trees. - Laura Blackwell/Lakes District News
Fire at Eutsuk Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park consumes forest interspersed with beetle-killed pine trees.
— image credit: Laura Blackwell/Lakes District News

VICTORIA – The B.C. government is spending $3.5 million a day to fight forest fires around the province, with the total for the year past $106 million and headed higher.

The government is bracing for bills that could reach $250 million by the end of the summer, depending on weather and the number of fires that threaten homes. B.C. has brought in firefighters from Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick, and issued several evacuation orders by the mid-point of the summer season.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong asked for B.C. residents to take all possible precautions and observe campfire bans through August. About 40 per cent of B.C. forest fires are human caused, with most of the rest started by lightning strikes.

Forest fire spending is already approaching totals for the last two years. Highs in the past decade are $382 million in 2009 and $371 million in 2003, when fires damaged Kelowna and Barriere.

"The possibility of the fire season consuming a quarter billion tax dollars is real," de Jong said. "Whilst there is no issue about spending the money, it has to come from somewhere, so that's a cost item that's looking like it will be considerably more than what had been hoped for."

BC fire season stats | Create Infographics
We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
Fraser sockeye shun U.S. waters, fill B.C. nets
 
Coast Capital donates $15,000 to reading program
 
Simple financial help for insuring your home
RenoMe! with FortisBC winner looking forward to end of her reno
 
Richest 10 per cent hold more than half of wealth in B.C.
 
Sedins bring cash, play ball hockey in Agassiz
Changes to pot legislation raise concerns
 
Big Hand Up for ‘Little Brothers, Sisters’
 
Say thank you to a Surrey farmer

Community Events, September 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 11 edition online now. Browse the archives.