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Okanagan and Shuswap area wildfires cause over $720 million in insured damage

2023 BC wildfires the costliest insured event in provincial history

October 3, 2023 
By FFIC Staff

Photo credit: Insurance Bureau of Canada

Oct. 3, 2023, British Columbia – This summer’s wildfires in the Okanagan and Shuswap resulted in over $720 million in insured losses, initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ) say.

These wildfires are now the most costly insured event ever recorded in British Columbia, and the tenth costliest in Canada’s history.

The Bush Creek East wildfire caused more than $240 million in insured damage while the McDougall Creek, Clark Creek and Walroy Lake wildfires caused more than $480 million, reported the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Combined, insured losses from the Bush Creek East and McDougall Creek wildfires this year exceed the cost of the last major wildfire in Okanagan Mountain Park near Kelowna in 2003. That fire 20 years ago resulted in $200 million in insured damage.

More than 270 structures are confirmed to have been destroyed. In addition, the Bush Creek East wildfire caused extensive damage to public infrastructure, including damage to hydro poles that resulted in power outages for thousands of people.

In West Kelowna, officials confirmed that 70 homes were affected by the wildfires, and 20 were lost in Westbank First Nation. In Kelowna, three homes and two outbuildings were completely destroyed, with a further three being destroyed in Lake Country. In the areas of Traders Cove and Lake Okanagan Resort, an estimated 100 structures were completely destroyed. The Lake Okanagan Resort was also destroyed.

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