Wildfires in BC this summer have caused more than $127 million in insured damaged according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
IBC said Wednesday that the wildfires around Williams Lake caused close to $100 million in insured damage to homes, vehicles, and businesses, while the Elephant Hill wildfire caused over $27 million in insured damage.
Aaron Sutherland, Pacific Vice-President of IBC, says the agency was very surprised that the total wasn’t higher.
“In fact, I think the fact that we didn’t see more damage than this is a real testament to the BC Wildfire fighting personnel and the incredible job they did in really limiting the impact of these fires on our communities.”
The worst wildfire season on record in BC comes on the heels of another major blaze, just a year earlier.
“That really speaks to the need to prevent this from happening going forward. You know we’re coming off of a devastating wildfire last year severely impacting Fort McMurray – we need to more than ever invest in mitigation for any disaster whether that’s wildfire or flood,” added Sutherland.
IBC believes a bigger investment needs to be made in mitigation efforts to help curb a number of wildfires taking place in the province.
“Things like fire-smarting our communities, building those fire breaks but also investing in more education for consumers and for British Carmen’s on how we can protect ourselves and our property and really ensure that our families are as resilient as we can be in the years ahead,” said Sutherland.
Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in the Cariboo region and placed in emergency centres in Kamloops and Prince George.
About 200 homes were lost province-wide during the 2017 wildfire season.
Since April 1st, nearly 1.2 million hectares of land has been destroyed, with over $510 million spent in suppression efforts.
(Files from Brendan Pawliw with MYPRINCEGEORGENOW)