A Closer Look at British Columbia Wildfire Trends

At least 122 wildfires have been recorded in British Columbia. Thus, the province’s wildfire budget is poised to go up even further with more than $85 million having been spent so far. These amounts are more than the $64 million allocated for these types of disasters. These numbers are still lower to those witnessed last year. At this point last year, the federation had already spent close to $122 fighting fires.

British Columbia wildlife fighting budget is often subject to 10-year rolling average cost estimation. The essence of having such a plan in disaster management is to avoid over-committing too much money upfront, which might end up starving other projects. Unlike other emergencies, BC can spend what it needs on wildlife fires without special appropriation meaning that the allotted amounts are not quite limiting.

This year’s budget had $350 million in forecast allowance along with an additional $550-million contingency fund. These new record-breaking numbers could have been informed by the disasters experienced last year that saw more than $560 million spent on wildfires along and an additional $73 million on floods.

Burning through the wildfire budget is not news in BC considering that between 2004 and 2017, only twice (2004/2006 and 2011/2012) has the wildfire expenditure come under the budget. This year, nearly 700 properties are on evacuation alert in Central Okanagan while close to 70 warnings have been issued in the Glenrosa area.

Based on recent wildfire trends, the province was forced to rethink how it allocated the wildfire management budget. These changes were affected in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. According to BC’s Wildfire Management department, this new system makes it difficult to predict future expenditures based on what has been spent in the past.

Proper wildlife management is vital to public safety and in helping the BC province keep it tourist attractions intact.

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