Fire at Eutsuk Lake in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park consumes forest interspersed with beetle-killed pine trees.

B.C.’s forest fire bills piling up

The B.C. government is currently spending $3.5 million a day to fight forest fires around the province

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

Just Posted

Concert raised funds for Agur Lake Camp

Tim Nutt was headline act at Comedy Night Fundraiser in Summerland

Summerland music promoter wins national award

Paul Biro honoured at 2019 CCMA Awards in Calgary

PET OF THE WEEK: Teddy wants a quiet home of his own

Older cat enjoys evenings spent binge-watching Bonanza

Fill a bag and help those in the South Okanagan in need

The annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive takes place this week in Penticton and Summerland

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

Driver has been convicted multiple times, including for criminal negligence causing death

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

WHL action returns to Okanagan, Rockets GM anxious for season’s start

Big off-season changes, the Memorial Cup; it’s all coming together for Bruce Hamilton

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

Lake Country aims to find happy-medium in Airport Inn shutdown

Airport Inn residents will have until Oct. 5. to find a new home unless an appeal is approved

Okanagan resident recalls recovery journey after heart attack

Gerry Bakker shares his experience after his heart attack 16 years ago at the age of 48

Most Read