British Columbia

B.C. wildfire and flood review kicks off consultations

Province-wide consultations began Monday in Kamloops to hear stories about last year’s devastating wildfires and spring floods.

'Policy and procedures need to change,' says co-chair

The review was launched to hear from the unprecedented number of British Columbians affected by fires and floods in 2017. (Gerry Frederick, Cranbrook)

Province-wide consultations began Monday in Kamloops as part of a review to hear stories about last year's devastating wildfires and spring floods.

The independent review was launched last fall get feedback on how to better plan for future environmental disasters. More than 65,000 people were displaced last summer. Fires burned 1.2 million hectares of forest and there was widespread flooding in communities like Cache Creek, Kelowna, Vernon and Dawson Creek.

The review panel will be in Cache Creek on Tuesday; Williams Lake and Alexis Creek later this month.

"We want to hear directly from you and just say it like it is because policy and procedures need to change. They need to improve, " said co-chair of the B.C. Flood and Wildfire Review, Maureen Chapman.

John Horgan appointed former provincial cabinet minister George Abbott and Chapman, a First Nations leader, as the chairs of the review in December of 2017.

Affected areas to be toured

The pair will be touring areas most affected by the fires and floods. Chapman says what she's heard already has touched her.

"Leaving behind their homes and some people, livestock, and others their livelihood, their businesses, and not knowing if they were going to have something to come back to," she said. "On a personal level, it was very impactful." 

Wildfires burned 1.2 million hectares of forest in B.C. last year. (Canaidan Press/Parks Canada-M.Kinley )

Last year is the worst fire year on record, promoting a 10-week state of emergency and costing the province more than $564 million in firefighting costs.

The province's flood response is estimated at over $73 million.

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About the Author

Jenifer Norwell

Digital Associate Producer

Jenifer Norwell has been working with CBC since 2008. She's worked in Prince George, Vancouver, Sudbury and now makes her home in her hometown of Kamloops. She works with CBC Kamloops and with Daybreak Kamloops. jenifer.norwell@cbc.ca