VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – BC Premier John Horgan says the federal government is matching the province’s $100 million fund to support ongoing wildfire relief programs.
Horgan says the $100 million federal contribution will help people, businesses and communities in the Interior as they recover from this summer’s record-breaking wildfire season.
A provincial state of emergency was declared last July after a number of communities were evacuated and homes were destroyed. The state of emergency was lifted in September but fires charred more than 11,700 hectares of forests, ranch lands and communities.
BC’s wildfire service says it has spent more than $510 million fighting fires this year, burning through its original budget for the season. There were several state of emergencies declared as well as crews from as far as Mexico, the US and Australia struggled to contain the hundreds of fires burning out of control.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Horgan toured the wildfire zone over the summer in a Canadian Forces helicopter, and both pledged to support relief efforts.
The previous record for wildfires was set in 1961 when 483,097 hectares of land burned, according to the BC Wildfire Service.