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

Question Answers with Fraser-Cascade 2019 byelection candidates

Seven candidates have stepped forward for this year’s sudden byelection—learn about them here

Sunshine Valley teens burning with promise

Possibly the youngest in B.C., Sunshine Valley trains 15- and 16-year-old firefighters

Figures reveal spike in highway traffic jams between Abbotsford and Langley

Nearly one in 20 westbound vehicles between Abbotsford and Langley clocked at under 60 km/h

Taser takedown in Chilliwack complex after incident gets violent

Male suspect became agitated under questioning and repeatedly punched an officer

Hang gliding video gives stunning view of Harrison and Fraser river confluence

Aerial view shows striking difference between two rivers as they meet

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read