Quickly Notifying Residents of Damage Post-Fire

The CalFire Damage Inspections Program aims to notify residents of confirmed damage or losses to their homes before the residents are allowed to return after a fire has impacted the area. This can help jump start insurance claims and plans to repair or rebuild. The program began in the 1980’s and has since been through several revisions and improvements.  They went digital in 2014, with a mobile mapping platform and online databases. Now, the data is available to the public. Let’s take a look at the damage data for the last 10 years.

The map is interactive; feel free to explore the data.

What the Data Shows

The data alone makes hard conclusions difficult, but combining this data with other known trends in California wildfires helps paint a picture of what California can expect in the future. For example, single catastrophic fires can skew the statistics drastically in a given year. We see this with the 2015 Valley Fire. This fire accounted for nearly two thirds of destroyed homes in 2015.

What is clear in the data is the increasing need for these damage inspections. While the total number of destroyed homes peaked in 2018, with over 22,000 homes destroyed, recent years have seen continued high numbers of damages and total losses. Thankfully, inspections confirming houses that survived are also rising.

Learn more about the program by watching this official CalFire Youtube Video or head to the UC Berkeley Fire Research Group website. Learn about other technology helping CalFire reduce the impact of fire on the residents in California, click on this RedZone Blog about the FIRIS aerial imaging system.

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