BC reviews disaster x2

The B.C. government has formed a committee to looking into the double whammy faced by the province earlier this year - fire and floods.

"Wildfires and flooding this year devastated many areas of our province, displacing tens of thousands of people," said Premier John Horgan. "While we work hard to help the people and communities recover, we also owe it to those people to make sure we learn from the events of the past spring and summer."

Former Shuswap MLA and cabinet minister George Abbott joins Maureen Chapman, hereditary chief of the Skawahlook First Nation, as co-chairs of an external review committee.

The review team will examine all aspects of the government's response to the floods and wildfires of 2017 and hold talks with those who were affected.

On  July 7, the province declared a state of emergency that lasted for 10 full weeks - the longest in the province's history.

Over 65,000 people were displaced over the course of the wildfire season and more than 1.2 million hectares of land burned, almost ten times the ten-year average.

There have been more than $400 million in claims through the Disaster Financial Assistance fund due to fires and floods so far this year. 

The committee is expected to deliver a report with recommendations before April 30, 2018, to be used to inform the 2018 spring freshet and wildfire season.

As well as this review, the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC are also evaluating this year's operations.

"What B.C. went through this past year was unprecedented with respect to wildfires and flooding," said Abbott. "Given the scale of these events and the enormous effort it took to deal with them, this review is an opportunity to take a closer look at what took place and how the government could enhance its response strategies."

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