Fewer Homes At Risk Of California Wildfires, But Cost To Rebuild Is On The Rise

Fewer Homes At Risk Of California Wildfires, But Cost To Rebuild Is On The Rise

24 April 2015

published by http://sacramento.cbslocal.com

USA — A new report shows the potential economic loss from wildfires in California is on the rise, but at the same time, the number of high risk homes is down.

With yet another year of extreme dry conditions, Cal Fire is preparing for a busy fire season.

But an annual study by Corelogic shows since 2013, the number of California homes considered at very high fire risk dropped by 28 percent.

Cal Fire says part of the reason is because people are better prepared.

“It’s not surprising with how much energy we put in to fire prevention work to see that risk level start to come down,” said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

Kevin Hanley, the chairman of the Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council, says his group has accomplished a lot after Auburn’s devastating 49er Fire in 2009 that destroyed more than 60 home.s

“I think it’s still a huge problem, and that’s why the fire safe council and our volunteers are really dedicated to doing more and more,” he said.

However, the report also shows the cost to replace homes destroyed in forest fires in very high risk areas has increased by 18 percent. While some of the increase may be attributed to rising property values, new fire-resistant building regulations also add to the cost.

“We’ve spent a lot of time looking and doing research on type of building materials and those weak points in homes that were catching on fire and allowing homes to ignite,” Berlant said.

But despite those efforts, those who live in fire prone areas still worry.

“I think we are making a difference but it is a race against time and we do have a lot to do,” Hanley said.

Due to the ongoing drought, Cal Fire says even homeowners in low-risk areas still need to take precautions to prevent fires.

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