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Revisiting California’s Camp Wildfire: The Long-Term Housing Impact

The source of California’s Camp Fire, which burned more than 150,000 acres and killed 85 people, has been identified as electrical transmission lines owned and operated by utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The fire in Northern California's Butte County burned more than 150,000 acres and killed 85 people.

"After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CAL FIRE has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) located in the Pulga area" of Butte County, California fire officials said in a statement. [1]

According to analysis by CoreLogic [2], the Camp and Woolsey fires left behind a trail of losses between $15 billion and $19 billion after being contained in late November 2018. The report contains the updated residential and commercial loss estimates from the wildfires based on the latest post-containment perimeter of both the Camp and Woolsey Fires.

The analysis recorded a total loss in the range of $11 billion and $13 billion from the Camp Fire, the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. Additionally, estimated losses from Woolsey Fire in Southern California are estimated to be between $4 billion to $6 billion. Residential and commercial properties account for building, content, and additional living expenses. The estimated losses include damage caused by fire, smoke, demand surge and debris removal.The residential loss from the Camp fire alone is between $8 billion to $9 billion. Woolsey fires ravaged infrastructure worth $3.5 to $5.5 billion in the residential space and $0.5 billion in commercial losses.

Since fire is covered under a standard homeowners’ policy, the majority of homeowners were likely to have some protection from the financial challenges surrounding recovery, the analysis indicated. As part of FEMA’s federal aid program to help those affected by the fire, a loan of up to $2 million was made available for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance.

The number of acres burned the past year is the eighth highest in U.S. history as reported through November 30, 2018. Per a CoreLogic report, a total of 11 western states in the U.S. had at least one wildfire that exceeded 50,000 burned acres; the leading states being California and Oregon.

Learn more about how to prepare for natural disasters at the 2019 inaugural Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The Symposium provides an opportunity for national leaders and executives to engage in critical conversations on diligence and preparedness, so the next time a natural disaster strikes, the industry will be ready to lend the proper support. Register for the Symposium here. [3]