Who is really paying for wildfire damage?
The cost of California’s last year’s historic wildfires has not been completely tallied but will most likely be in the hundreds of billions. YES!! Billions! Through dealing with state and government agencies what we know is this, cities and counties will end up picking up atleast half of the tab. This isn’t what people normally would think about a “natural disaster”. We imagine FEMA or a multitude of tax funded agencies to come to the rescue. But in recent years, that has not been the case. To give an example, Cal Fire only represents the first 9% of the total cost of the fire.
Let’s add up the next round of losses: property, homes, need for temporary shelter and fixing the landscape. Roughly those categories add up to 35% of losses and are funded by not just FEMA, but also agencies such as the Red Cross and insurance companies. The other 65% are considered long term damages: depreciated property values, reduced property taxes, and lost business revenue.
Local government agencies pay at each of these stages which results in at least half of the cost. In recent years, fires typically burn twice as much acreage on average. Compared to those wildfires from the 1990’s. When new developments are nearing forested land, building standards need to mandate wildfire resistant materials. A study from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety compared the cost of traditional building materials versus double glazed windows with tempered glass, fire resistant decking and covered vented roof. The overall price increase of the home was only 5-10%. That might just be the ticket to protect your dream home. Did you know that DisclosureSave NHD partners with the NFPA along with their Firewise Initiative? You can find if you are currently in a Firewise Community by simply ordering a NHD report. Contact your local account executive to learn more about Firewise in your neighborhood.