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

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Mt. Waddington’s Salvation Army releases eye-opening statistics report for 2017

Shelter overnight stays saw a 431 per cent increase since 2014.

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Most Read