A Tale of Two Californias: Managing Wildfire Risk in the Year 2030

By Chris Folkman | February 6, 2020

  • February 7, 2020 at 8:09 am
    CL PM says:
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    Agree with all said in this article, and the author made small mention of community planning, but I would place more emphasis on the latter. I used to live in SoCal and ventured into the canyons around Orange County on hiking trips, and was amazed at where some people lived. I can only suppose they were ignorant of the fire risk all around them, or somehow decided the risk was manageable. We either need to legislate against living in high risk areas, or designate them as “if you want to live there, you’re on your own if it burns.”

    • February 7, 2020 at 1:03 pm
      Craig Cornell says:
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      I agree that this is a thoughtful article. But I am amazed the writer isn’t being slammed by the usual suspects for being a “denier”.

      Making climate change out to be a manageable problem? OH NO! He can’t say that.

      “We have to keep saying we are all going to die! We have to ban fossil fuels and live in caves! 12 years left!”

  • February 7, 2020 at 2:59 pm
    Observor says:
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    The downside of the article is that it makes some processes easier than the real life scenarios. I am not as optimistic that we will be able to properly model brush fire in the near future. I am also not sure how the precautionary steps he mentions would actually prevent loss during a fire event that took place in Paradise. The other challenge for an underwriting team will be to ensure that owners are keeping up with maintenance year after year.

    One of the challenges in underwriting personal property is the cost versus the premium. Satellite pictures are only a snap shot take every couple of years at the most. It is challenging for an underwriting team to obtain the latest pictures of when brush is cleared.

    One of the challenges of modeling brush fires as well as earth movement is that we have very little experience with our current infrastructure. California, for instance, was much less populated only a few decades ago. Although models have been refined after earthquake event in Loma Prieta, Northridge and Japan in recent years, there is a high probability that unexpected factors will impact future events. The earthquake fire following models are still extremely crude because we have not experience an earthquake event during a wind storm.

    Wild fire events are more challenging to predict with recent changes in population growth difficult to model with clarity. For instance, the recent fires made us take note of the aging PG&E towers that most likely were safer a couple decades ago. We may not be aware of other factors impacting its spread.

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