Although the 2019 wildfire season was less destructive than previous years, the 2019 fires and fires from previous years have had a large impact on real estate and insurance industries. Some homeowners in high-risk areas have seen loss of coverage, while others are experiencing extremely high insurance premiums. Potential homebuyers for homes in high-risk areas are being denied coverage or are backing out of purchases due to the high premiums. As wildfire frequency and intensity escalates in California, concern for the real estate market grows.
In May, CALFIRE released findings condemning one of California’s major utilities company, PG&E, as the cause for last year’s devastating Camp Fire. Before these findings, the company was already in hot water with responsibility for 2017’s October Fire Siege in Northern California. The 10s of billions in lawsuits associated, forced the company to file for bankruptcy this January and prompted speculation that the Northern California utilities could become state-run. So far that hasn’t happened. But what has happened is that PG&E has decided to address the cause of these major fires by proposing to actually cut power during high-wind days, which could cause blackouts for millions of residents for days at a time.