California Wildfires Caused 42 Deaths, More Than $1 Billion in Damage

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The California Department of Insurance on Thursday released preliminary data on the loss of life and property damage due to recent wildfires in the both northern and southern California.

The preliminary data attributes 42 deaths to the fires, more than 7,000 structures damaged or destroyed, and insurance claims totaling $1.05 billion in losses, commercial and residential structures, personal and commercial vehicles, and agricultural equipment. The data were provided by eight California insurers that together are processing claims from tens of thousands of policyholders.

According to insurer-reported data, the fires caused 5,449 total residential losses, 4,177 partial residential losses and 601 commercial property losses. More than 3,000 personal auto losses and 83 commercial vehicle losses were also reported. More than 2,800 homes were destroyed in the city of Santa Rosa alone.

Crews are still working to gain control over multiple fires, and some 22,000 residents of Sonoma County were still not able to return because their homes remained at risk or were located in a burn zone.

At the peak of the effort to control the flames in northern California, about 11,000 firefighters were battling the blazes. As the fires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties approach full containment, firefighters are being sent home.

The Tubbs fire, which caused at least 22 deaths and destroyed large swaths of Santa Rosa, was 92% contained Thursday morning, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The state’s insurance commissioner last week urged insurers to advance at least four months of additional living expenses to property owners who experienced a total loss and a minimum 25% of policy limits for loss personal property.