$8.6B Worth of Homes at High or Extreme Risk from California Fires

November 16, 2018

A report out on Friday shows 23,044 homes with a total reconstruction cost value of $8.6 billion are at high or extreme risk of wildfire damage within the perimeters of the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in Southern California.

The report from data provider CoreLogic shows 16,344 homes with in the perimeter of the Camp Fire amounting to $3.9 billion in reconstruction value, 2,114 homes within a half-a-mile of the perimeter at $438.6 million and 1,359 homes within half-a-mile to 1 mile at $287.3 million.

The report shows 6,700 homes at a reconstruction cost of $4.66 billion within the perimeter of the Woolsey Fire, 6,349 homes at $3.2 billion within a half-a-mile of the perimeter and 1,355 homes within half-a-mile to 1 mile at $947.6 million.

A member of the Sacramento County Coroner’s office looks for human remains in the rubble of a house burned at the Camp Fire, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The Camp Fire has burned 140,000 acres and is 40 percent contained. It has destroyed 9,844 residences and 336 commercial structures. It has killed 63, and threatens 15,500 structures, according to CalFire.

The Woolsey Fire has burned 98,362 acres and is 69 percent contained. It has destroyed 616 structures, and threatens 57,000 others, according to CalFire. Three fatalities have been reported.

Rapid development in the wildland-urban interface areas around the Camp Fire are partially what led it to becoming such a destructive event, according to a commentary on the fires published on Friday by catastrophe modeler RMS.

The commentary states that Butte County has grown significantly over the last four decades. Since 1980, Butte County’s population has grown by 60 percent, outpacing the national average, with much of the new development in the wildland-urban interface, according to RMS.

Roughly half the county’s land area is either grassland or forest.

“This increasing exposure in high-risk areas — combined with dry air, rising temperatures from a changing climate, and increased forest fuel loads as a result of past fire suppression — likely contributed to the Camp Fire’s unprecedented ferocity,” RMS stated in its commentary.

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