BC NDP announces review following devastating 2017 wildfire and flooding seasons

B.C. Premier John Horgan announced an independent review of 2017's fire and flooding season.
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced an independent review of 2017's fire and flooding season. Jonathan Barlett

The B.C. government has announced an independent review of this year’s wildfire and flooding seasons.

During a conference, Premier John Horgan said the review will be completed before April 20, 2018, adding the information will be vital to battling 2018’s wildfire and flooding season.

READ MORE: 2017 BC wildfire season ‘the new normal’: province urged to act

Horgan said former MLA and Indigenous leader Maureen Chapman will be leading the review.

“It’s a challenging file but I’m confident that with these superlative individuals we’ll get an outstanding external review to complement the work that our public service is already doing,” said Horgan.

WATCH: Coverage of B.C.’s wildfire season

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The report will examine “all aspects of the province’s response to the floods and wildfires of 2017,” including a review of the evacuation procedures in place.

“We were using systems from the 1900s in the 21st century, so we are going to have to update our systems and this is an opportunity to do that as well,” added Horgan.

READ MORE: Wildfires put a dent in B.C. summer tourism

This summer the province saw the longest state of emergency in its history, lasting 10 weeks. Thousands of British Columbians were displaced from their homes due to fire and flooding.

“We owe all of those people a great debt of gratitude and a great debt of responsibility to ensure that we make every effort to improve our ability to respond in the future,” said Horgan.

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As of Nov. 30, 2017, 1,346 wildfires had burned over 1.2 million hectares since April 1.

Fire suppression costs this year were estimated at more than $564 million, said Horgan.

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