Losses From California Wildfires Could Reach $19 Billion

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After burning through more than 153,000 acres over 17 days, the Camp Fire in northern California was fully contained on Monday. The state’s deadliest-ever wildfire has so far been charged with the loss of 85 lives, with nearly 300 people still unaccounted for.

By the time the fire was contained, nearly 14,000 residences had been destroyed, making the Camp Fire the most destructive ever, as well as the deadliest.

Property information and analytics firm CoreLogic on Tuesday released a new estimate for the dollar damage caused by the Camp Fire and the 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire in southern California, which was fully contained last week after killing three people and destroying more than 1,600 structures.

According to CoreLogic, the Camp Fire caused an estimated residential loss of $8 billion to $9 billion and a commercial structure loss of $3 billion to $4 billion. The total estimate for the fire ranges from $11 billion to $13 billion.

The firm’s estimate of damages from the Woolsey fire include $3.5 billion to $5.5 billion for residential losses and up to $500 million for commercial losses, for a destructive range of $3.5 billion to $6.0 billion.

CoreLogic’s Tom Larsen said:

These wildfires have been a personal and financial tragedy for many families. The proper estimation of the value of a home is critical because often in situations of wildfire, the home is completely lost. A deficient valuation can lead to a situation where homeowners have inadequate funding to replace their home.

CoreLogic noted that its analysis of both residential and commercial properties accounts for building, content and additional living expenses, and the estimated losses include fire, smoke, demand surge and debris removal. Because fire is covered under a standard homeowners’ policy, the majority of homeowners are likely to have some protection from the financial challenges surrounding recovery.

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