The devastating White Rock lake wildfire is estimated to have caused $77 million in insured damage.
The lightning-caused fire sparked July 13 and burned more than 83,000 hectares in 66 days forcing thousands from their home and put more on alert across nine governing jurisdictions.
This number is according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), released Thursday, Sept. 23, and more than 800 claims from this event is expected — with the majority relating to residential properties.
The fire destroyed approximately 100 homes and several businesses in Monte Lake and along Westside Road in the Regional District of Central Okanagan and Okanagan Indian Band.
“Canada’s insurers are here to help the residents of Killiney Beach, Monte Lake and other areas impacted by the White Rock Lake wildfire recover and rebuild following the devastation it has caused,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
“Anyone who has been impacted by this event, or has questions about their home, vehicle or business insurance, should call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.”
In comparison, IBC estimates the damage caused by the wildfire that wiped out most of the village of Lytton and killed two is only $1 million more. In a statement, they said only 300 claims have been made so far.
The agency said all levels of government must prioritize investments that build resiliency and better protect communities from disasters like this — “a tragic reminder of the increased risk facing communities across the province, and county, from a changing climate.”
As the climate changes, the frequency and severity of weather events are increasing, along with the financial costs borne by insurers and taxpayers, the statement reads.
“As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it’s clear much more must be done to create a culture of preparedness and build our resiliency to the risks we face,” said Sutherland.
“We all must do better to prepare for wildfires, floods, heat, hail and windstorms. These perils are having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future change and adapt to the new weather reality we face.”