The staggering cost of wildfire recovery in Northern California

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Apr 10, 2018

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services posted a remarkable article on their website last week.  This article, Signs of Recovery Show Six Months After Most Destructive Wildfires in California History, Debris Removal Reaches Major Milestone shared staggering costs and work involved in rebuilding the communities that were hardest hit by wildfires in Northern California.  The overall costs paid out by government agencies since the October 10th described in this article, which does not including costs paid out by homeowner’s insurance policies was;


  •        15.7 million dollars from FEMA for individual assistance to 4,500 residents in this hard hit area.
  •       Of this amount 9.6 million was provided for temporary housing assistance and to help rebuilding
  •       Another 6.1 million dollars was used to help victims of these fires with other needs such as funeral costs, medical needs, and personal property loss
  •        271.8 million dollars was given in Public Assistance grants to the neighborhoods, cities, counties and state affected by the wildfires.This money is used for the repair of public infrastructure and buildings.  The amount going directly to people is only about 6% of the amount going to repair and replace public buildings and infrastructure. 

TOTAL  287.5 million dollars just in government assistance for these 2017 Northern California wildfires.  These costs also do not include 640 households who received California State Transitional Sheltering Assistance and 230 households who received FEMA temporary housing.  This funding does not cover all costs incurred in the rebuilding process and many costs are never recovered.


It was amazing to me also how long it took just to remove the 1.7 million tons of debris (from homes and businesses that burned) that became designated as hazardous materials.  The thought of the damage all of this caused the environment not to mention the horrible loss of life was overwhelming.  I can’t help but think that there is so much more that can be done now as the rebuilding and healing process begins to help reduce California residents’ loss during wildfires.  NFPA has many no cost resources that can be used to reduce wildfire losses.  

The photos were shared with NFPA by the LA City Fire Department