2023 B.C. wildfire costs ‘highest ever’, finance minister says

As he toured fire-affected parts of the province on Monday, B.C. Premier David Eby announced the launch of an expert task force into wildfires, drought, and heat emergencies to improve prevention and response measures. Monika Gul reports.

B.C. is on track to spend the most it has ever spent on wildfire response this season, with costs projected to be close to $1 billion in the 2023 fiscal year.

In its fiscal update for the first quarter, the provincial government said costs are hundreds of millions of dollars more than what was budgeted.

“Given the scope of the season so far, it’s had a substantial impact on our forecast. Wildfire costs will be close to $1 billion — the highest ever,” Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said Wednesday.

“As I said, the wildfire costs are expected to be nearly $1 billion, which is $762 million higher than budget.”

Related articles: 

This has had an impact on B.C.’s bottom line, with wildfire spending in large part to blame for an increase of $2.5 billion in the projected deficit.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, there have been just over 2,200 wildfires across the province since the season began on April 1.

In that time, almost 25,000 square kilometres of trees, bush, and grassland have been charred, making this B.C.’s worst-ever wildfire season and easily surpassing the previous record of 13,540 square kilometres burned in 2018.

Recently, the wildfire situation has been improving with the arrival of cooler, wetter weather. The BC Wildfire Service says conditions have dropped the fire danger rating in many areas, with fire bans also being downgraded in parts of the province.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today