Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blue Cut Fire in California compares to Louisiana floods in numbers of households displaced

Just as much of Louisiana is imperiled by floods, much of southern California, east of Los Angeles and around I-10, San Bernadino and other areas that I have often visited or driven rental cars through in the past (most recently in 2012) is severely affected by a huge wildfire (the Blue Cut Fire), involving 30000 acres, and leading to evacuation of over 80000 people (which must mean 25000 or more homes and households).

NBC News has a story here.

At the same time a man was arrested for multiple counts of arson in setting wildfires in northern California, ABC story here. Given the tender dry conditions in some area, even visitors could accidentally set wildfires with cigarette butts or matches or campfires.  The NPS has a link on visitor responsibility.

But some of the fires seem to be set by dry lightning, and in dry conditions fires tend to “jump”.  And people have been allowed to build in interface areas or “fire plains”.

Standard homeowner’s insurance does seem to cover wildfires, so in that sense homeowners in the West may be better off than many homeowners in Louisiana, who did not have adequate flood insurance.

Policy makers have not discussed housing of those displaced by really large disasters very openly, as we know from the experience with Katrina.  Do they want other homeowners to participate in housing them?  It hasn’t been really said yet that this should be expected.

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