News Northern Health anticipates wildfire costs to paid in full by BC government SHARE ON: Kyle Balzer, staff Tuesday, Dec. 5th, 2017 Photo Courtesy of BC Wildfire Service Northern Health dealt with hundreds of patients evacuated from the summer’s unprecedented wildfire season in the Cariboo and Central Interior. According to Monday’s budget update from the agency, the health authority spent nearly $4 million in aiding efforts. The cost went to facilities in Prince George and Quesnel, where patients were transferred from Cariboo-based centres. Though the total was over the authority’s year-to-date budget, spokesperson Andrea Palmer explains it aided several evacuees in the unprecedented season. “We accommodated more than 90 additional residents at the Gateway Lodge in Prince George, and we also established assisted living and home care residences. Other extraordinary costs mainly included staffing, equipment, and transportation.” However, Palmer says they’ve received notice of BC’s Ministry of Health offsetting the cost as this occurred during a public state of emergency. “We can’t budget, of course, for a natural disaster like the wildfires, but we are super happy to be able to serve people as necessary, and it really was an extraordinary time for all of our employees.” She believes the over-spending went the extra mile, adding it’s more important to give people the proper care they need. Northern Health has also exceeded its general revenue by more than $2.5 million as a result, $1.3 million more than the year-to-date budget plan as of the beginning of October. It’s predicting that number to be balanced before 2018.