California is burning. Again. As dry seasons intensify, so does the fire risk. So when the autumn winds kick up, fires spark - and quickly spread. At the time this article is being written, there are multiple fires burning in California; the newest one just sparked earlier today. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, and power is out to millions.
According to National Geographic, 15 of the 20 largest fires in California history have happened since 2000. Since the 1970s, "the amount of area burned in the state has increased by a factor of five."
While we won't get into the reasons why the state is experiencing more fires, there are some statistics restoration contractors should understand when it comes to wildfires to better help prepare, respond, and restore to these massive disasters.
1. Claims are in the billions of dollars.
According to an LA Times article from January 2019, insurers had already at that time received more than $11.4 billion in covered loss claims from California wildfires that happened the previous November.
2. CoreLogic predicted an escalation in wildfire events in 2019.
Every year, CoreLogic releases a Wildfire Risk Report based on a massive compilation of data. In September of this year, CoreLogic released predictions for this year stating, "A review of the past few years reveals not only a continuation of the intense fires and associated destruction in the United States but an escalation of these events." The report goes on to state that in 2017 and 2018, wildfire damage in California was greater than any two other consecutive years in history. CoreLogic experts believe this is an indicator of what's ahead in the years to come.
3. More than two million properties are at risk in California alone.
According to the latest Verisk Wildfire Risk Analysis, 2,019,800 properties in California are at risk of wildfire damage. Colorado and Texas alone add in another million structures.
4. There are likely more wildfires than you realize.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were more than 41,000 wildfires in the U.S. this year between Jan. 1 and Oct. 4. About 4.4 million acres were burned in that period, compared to 7.7 million in the same period in 2018. In 2018, there were 58,083 wildfires, compared to 71,499 in 2018.
If you are planning part of the restoration efforts following a wildfire, it's important to understand how to handle these unique claims from a safety standpoint, proper odor removal techniques, managing a high volume of claims at once, and more! R&R has a lot of resources if you simply search "wildfire" on our homepage.