BC Wildfire Service is currently estimating the costs for this year’s unprecedented wildfire season at $547.7 million with approximately 996,000 hectares of the 1.2 million hectares burned across the province in the Cariboo Fire Centre.
“Currently the costs that we have attributed to the Cariboo Fire Centre are sitting at $169.7 million, but this doesn’t actually accurately reflect how much was spent in this region due to the way the BC Wildfire Service costs are tracked,” says fire information officer, Natasha Broznitsky.
A number of costs including auxiliary employee salaries, and their provincial air tanker fleet according to Broznitsky are attributed provincially and not at the local level.
She says the costs for individual wildfires is something that they are working on, although it won’t be finalized for some time.
“The Cariboo Fire Centre was fortunate to receive help from a significant number of personnel that were deployed here from really around the world,” says Broznitsky. “We had people here from nearly all of the provinces across Canada as well from a number of other countries including the United States, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to this the Canadian Armed Forces were also deployed here and played a number of important roles both on and off the fire line.”
Broznitsky adds that she is most personally proud of how the various groups working on wildfire response including their own staff, contractors, industry, fire departments, and regional districts came together under challenging circumstances.
“I was really impressed to see people work with the dedication they did especially in those cases when they were evacuated from their own homes, and in some cases separated from families and pets,” says Broznitsky. “The other thing I am probably most proud of is the support that we saw from the community. It was certainly very appreciated by our staff and it definitely demonstrated to me that the Cariboo is a special place.”
Broznitsky says that the majority of their seasonal staff at the Cariboo Fire Centre will be finished work by the end of November this year.
She says with any significant event there will be a review of response activities and recommendations from that review will inform how governments approach future wildfire seasons