California wildfires: Building resilience from the ashes

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Overview

"At the time, 2017 was the most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with over 9,000 fires burning close to 1.2 million acres of land.1 The following year became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever recorded in the state, with 8,054 fires burning over 1.8 million acres. The notorious 2018 Camp Fire alone claimed the lives of 86 people and nearly wiped the town of Paradise off the map.
California regularly ranks as one of the most wildfire-prone states, but it isn’t the only area at increasing risk of devastating wildfires. In the U.S., both the likelihood of wildfires occurring and the number of homes exposed to wildfires have increased as development expands into wildland areas. The risk in these areas is often magnified by more limited evacuation routes and more complex topography.

The intensifying risks and impacts of wildfires precipitated the report “California fires: Building resilience from the ashes.” The report, based on a study using Zurich’s award-winning Post-Event Review Capability, is the result of a collaboration between Zurich North America, DuPont and the nonprofit Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET-International). The insights are drawn from research and interviews with wildfire-impacted Californians, including homeowners, business leaders and university officials, as well as civic and nonprofit representatives involved in risk reduction, response and recovery. The purpose is to identify lessons learned from the fires and provide clear recommendations for enhancing wildfire resilience.

Keywords: Disaster Risk Reduction/Hazard Management; Learning from Natural Hazards; Monitoring and Evaluation; Urban Planning Keywords: Disaster Risk Reduction/Hazard Management; Learning from Natural Hazards; Monitoring and Evaluation; Urban Planning"

Authors: Rachel Norton, Abrina Williams, Karen MacClune, Wendy Donahue, Chris Fetterman, Jennifer Schneider

Citation: Norton, R., Williams, A., MacClune, K., Donahue, W., Fetterman, C., & Schneider, J. (2019). California fires: Building resilience from the ashes. Schaumburg, IL: Zurich American Insurance Company.

Funded By: Zurich North America, DuPont

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