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Nearly $80 million in damages for B.C.'s White Rock Lake wildfire

Sunday, September 26th 2021, 10:05 pm - This summer was one of B.C.'s worst wildfire seasons ever, with one particularly destructive blaze racking up $77 million of insured damages.

With the 2021 wildfire season finally in B.C.'s rearview mirror, the financial toll of one of the devastating blazes is now coming to light.

The wildfire in White Rock Lake, B.C., which began in July, is estimated to have caused $77 million in insured damage, according to the initial evaluation from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). More than 800 claims are anticipated from this event, the majority of which will be related to residential properties.

RELATED: B.C.'s historic wildfire season: A recap of the explosive summer

The fire, which grew to more than 833 square kilometres, destroyed 78 properties in the central Okanagan, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

The escalating frequency and severity of weather events like wildfires are also becoming more of a financial burden for insurers and taxpayers, the agency said.

(BC WILDFIRE SERVICE) White Rock Lake BC Fire Aug 4 2021 White Rock Lake (K61884) wildfire, posted Aug. 4, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service/Twitter)

"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 of Western and Pacific Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in a news release.

B.C. endured one of its worst fire seasons on record in 2021 and is memorable for how close the large blazes came to major population centres in the southern Interior.

Extreme heat and dry conditions fanned the fires, which led to numerous evacuation alerts and a new total loss of the village of Lytton.

"We all must do better to prepare for wildfires, floods, heat, hail and wind storms. 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," said Sutherland.

With files from Kyle Brittain.

Thumbnail courtesy of BC Wildfire Service/Twitter.

Follow Nathan Howes on Twitter.

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