British Columbia

Two of B.C.'s worst wildfires cost insurers more than $127 million

The Elephant Hill fire and the wildfires around Williams Lake that forced tens of thousands from their homes has caused more than $127 million in damage, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

That number doesn't include the hundreds of other fires that burned across the province

Boston Flats, B.C., is seen on July 11, 2017 after a wildfire ripped through the area. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Two B.C. wildfires that forced tens of thousands from their homes have caused more than $127 million in damage, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

The Elephant Hill wildfire — that ripped through homes in the Boston Flats, Loon Lake and Pressy Lake — caused more than $27 million in damage to insured homes, businesses and vehicles. The wildfires around Williams Lake caused $100 million in insured damage.

"The size and scale of the wildfires this summer have been the largest in British Columbia's history," said Aaron Sutherland, vice-president of IBC's Pacific region. 

Other fires and the uninsured

The $127 million price tag doesn't include the hundreds of other fires that burned across B.C.

Sutherland added the cost doesn't cover uninsured homes, businesses or belongings.

"The majority of British Columbians were prepared financially for these events. They did have insurance. There were a few individuals out there who did not and for them it's absolutely devastating," said Sutherland.

"As we're seeing these events happening more and more often — more incidents of extreme weather happening more frequently — it really should be a wake-up call that we're prepared both physically and financially."

Summer 2017 was the worst wildfire season on record in the province. The B.C. wildfire service estimates more than 12,000 square kilometres of land have burned since the season began on April 1.

Firefighting efforts have cost more than $500 million since the start of the season.

At the height of the wildfires, nearly 50,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

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