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FEMA Funding $2M Wildfire Mitigation Program in California

After the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County scorched more than 74,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 structures in 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted $2 million to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Sonoma County for long-range, fire detection cameras. The $2.7 million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) project will be funded by a $2 million grant from FEMA, with non-federal sources covering the $700,000 balance.

Cal OES will be mounting 27 high-definition cameras will be mounted on 17 strategically-selected towers to monitor Sonoma County and portions of Mendocino, Lake, Napa, and Marin counties for smoke and fire in order to prevent the loss of life, property, and economic damage. According to FEMA, the cameras can detect smoke and fire from as far away as 60 miles during the day and 150 miles at night using infrared technology.

More recently, the Tubbs and Camp wildfires, after destroying 20% of the single-family housing stock in Butte County 6% of the single-family homes in Santa Rosa, caused an increase in demand, accelerating price growth. 2019 was not the most devastating year in the decade, but it continued a trend of high losses from natural disasters, according to a year-end lookback from CoreLogic. CoreLogic’s report analyzed the economic impact of these conditions, including the rise of defaults in the years following major disasters.

According to CoreLogic, California and Texas lead the United States in the number of residences and RCV in the high- and extreme-risk categories, but California cannot be topped when it comes to wildfire devastation over the past two years. In 2017, California’s wildfires, including the Tubbs Fire and the Thomas Fire dwarfed previous records for both the size of the fires and the amount of destruction. In 2018, new records were set again for both categories, along with the number of deaths for a single wildfire event, the Camp Fire.

“Based on CoreLogic research, communities affected by wildfires, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters in 2019 will likely experience an increase in mortgage delinquencies and shelter costs, and it can take more than 12 months for mortgage delinquency rates to normalize—and even longer for homes to be repaired or rebuilt,” the report said.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Harding University, he has covered numerous topics across the real estate and default servicing industries. Additionally, he has written B2B marketing copy for Dallas-based companies such as AT&T. An East Texas Native, he also works part-time as a photographer.
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