UC-Berkeley researchers concluded in a report released on Thursday that the state needs to revamp its planning policies and efforts to rebuild communities or risk greater tragedy and loss of life, as California’s wildfire season extends and more devastating wildfires sweeps the communities.
The research examined the effects of the 2017 Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, the 2017 Thomas fire in Ventura, and the Camp Fire in Paradise as well, and found that nearly 10 percent of Californians live in high-risk fire zones, while the seven most destructive blazes on record have come since 2017.
The researchers estimated that the blaze could further cost at least $610 billion to replace homes in the high-risk zones. “It’s about people’s lives, their livelihoods and their futures,” said Next 10 founder Noel Perry, who funded the study.
The report also listed general approaches to effective redevelopment that the state can do, such as rebuilding houses in the same place, giving a managed retreat with fewer new homes going into high-risk zones, and rebuilding smaller, more dense clusters of homes with better defensible space from spreading blazes.