Canadian Underwriter

B.C. forest fires claim 80 homes, sawmill

August 6, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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Fires that continue to rage through B.C. are making it difficult for emergency crews and adjusters to reach affected areas and thus come up with an estimate of damage.
As of the first week of August, about 335 fires still burned, including major blazes in Strawberry Hill, McLure and Chilko Lake. Fires are also spreading into areas of Alberta.
Fires near Kamloops, BC, forced the evacuation of thousands, and threatened a sawmill. Insurers face the loss of at least 80 homes plus the mill and its equipment, confirms Lindsay Olsen, regional vice president for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Not only will insurers be paying out on property losses, but “evacuation cover” will also come into effect. There are also a number of boats and trailers from seasonal residents that may be affected.
“Nobody can get to the site yet,” she notes as of early August. “People don’t even know if their house is gone or not.”
She adds that hundreds of fires continue to rage and more could be on the way. “It’s the situation with the weather right now. It’s hot, it’s dry, and there are a lot of lightening strikes.”
Generally, property policies cover fire damage as well as potentially covering living expenses for those under evacuation order from the government. “Our industry takes our obligations in these situations very seriously, and we will be doing everything we can to help just as quickly as possible.

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