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Outstanding BC wildfire bills nearly paid back

Last Updated Oct 11, 2017 at 9:34 am PST

Fire activity in the Bald Mountain area in August, 2017. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service via Twitter)

Fifty extra staff members were brought in for wildfire season backlog

Final wildfire figure more than $500 million

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – BC’s new Forests Minister says the province has nearly paid back everyone who gave goods and services during this unprecedented fire season.

More than 800 contractors along with businesses gave everything from food to hungry families and equipment to help fight the fires, but many waited months to be paid back.

Doug Donaldson says 50 extra staff were brought in and have nearly caught up on the backlog.

“In one weekend, we managed to process 1,100 invoices, so some of the invoices are still coming in and we’re dealing with those, but our primary focus is to get people who worked on the fires paid.”

Donaldson says it was necessary to spend more than $548 million in total this fire season.

“An unprecedented figure,” he adds. “The resources will be there to protect public safety and people’s structures and that’s the way that professionals and the BC Wildfire Service do their job.”

That’s nearly nine times the budget of $63 million.

Donaldson was speaking at the Forest Stewardship Council’s general assembly.

It is the first meeting of its kind in North America, where more than eight hundred people from the forest sectors of 80 countries gathered in Vancouver.