Costs of Wildfires

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While California experiences other natural and man-made disasters, wildfires are by far the biggest threat here as fire season runs for most of the year. In an average year, we experience more than a thousand fires that burn approximately 50,000 acres including multiple homes, threaten lives, and impact the economy. Catastrophic wildfires have long-term environmental impacts as well as health impacts. Wildfires are the biggest polluter in the state far exceeding emissions from factories and cars.

Direct Costs
Direct costs of wildfire is the amount of money associated with controlling, suppressing and extinguishing wildfires, carrying out evacuations, business / retail disruption, public and private property damage, school and playground closures, and public health alerts are all costs directly related to fires.

Indirect Costs
There are many indirect costs related to the frequency of wildfires endured by state agencies and your personal pocket book. One of the biggest indirect costs is the supply and maintenance of equipment needed to fight thousands of wildfires each year. For homeowners increases in the amount of fire damages impacts how much we all pay for fire insurance premiums. Damage to investments such as recreational structures, devalued experiences, investments in forest management that would not have been needed ( such as additional reforestation or thinning), reduced air and water quality, and long-term human health impacts are other indirect costs.