The frequency and severity of recent wildfires has not only impacted homeowners and firefighters but has also impacted various industries across the United States. Some of these impacts are new, such as the destruction of 528 commercial properties and 102 damagedin the recent Camp Fire in Northern California, according to the latest CAL FIRE report. Researchers are looking for new ways to protect the interests of business owners and the local economies.
One agricultural industry recently impacted has been the wine industry, especially since there have been multiple recent fires in wine country. Smoke from wildfires have negatively affected the flavor of grapes. This phenomena is known as “Smoke Taint”. Using grapes that have been exposed to wildfire smoke can destroy the flavor of a whole batch of wine. University of California, Davis and the California Winegrowers Association are cooperating on a study to help minimize the effects of smoke as well as determine more accurately which grapes are ruined so growers aren’t overly cautious costing them extra money in loss. The economic losses to the industry are not only the wine but the tourist industry in the area that caters to tourists who visit the vineyards in the fall.
The tourism industry has also been impacted by wildfires in areas across the United States. Around Yosemite National Park, according to one report in July 2018, impacted the local economy with a loss of almost 20 million dollars.
The insurance industry has also been impacted by wildfire loss. For example according to one article, one company State Farm lost in last fall’s Northern California wildfires, about $1.2 billion dollars for 4,540 homeowner claims and about $20.7 million for 1,300 automobile claims for loss.
According to a May report, wildfires in Oklahoma have impacted cattle rancherscausing a loss of 26 million dollars.
Other infrastructure impacted by wildfires last year includes freeways, cell towers, utilities, and schools. Communities can make effective, science based changes to reduce their risk of loss due to wildfires. Check out the Firewise USA ® webpage todayto learn about how you can help make a difference today where you live, and become a part of the wildfire safety solution. Tell us what you are doing in your community.
Photo credit: LA City Fire Department