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California Encourages Rebuilding In Fire-Prone Areas – CBS Sacramento – Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California 2021-06-10 17:19:50 –

San Francisco (AP) – California and local authorities are encouraging reconstruction in areas destroyed by wildfires. If the state wants to reduce the economic and human impact of increasingly devastating wildfires, it needs to keep people away from those areas. Report released on Thursday.

State and local policies emphasize the refurbishment of existing homes and ensure that homes have defensive space and that communities have evacuation plans. This encourages wildfire victims to rebuild in fire-prone areas. The University of California, Berkeley’s Community Innovation Center has discovered a study commissioned by the nonpartisan think tank Next10.

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Researchers investigated recovery operations after the 2017 Tabus fire in Santa Rosa, the 2017 Thomas fire in Ventura, and the 2018 camp fire in Paradise. They conclude that these large and deadly wildfires underscore the urgency of promoting policies that make it easier for policy makers to promote housing construction and land conservation in urban areas. Attached.

Researchers said the state should offer tax incentives to encourage people who have lost their homes in wildfires to move to lower-risk areas. Authorities also said they should make it difficult for developers to build an interface between the wilderness and the city.

Robert Olshansky, one of the lead authors of the report and an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, acted shortly after a catastrophic wildfire trying to decide whether people would rebuild or relocate. He said it was time to do it.

“The state is discussing further restrictions on building new homes in the wilderness areas, but it’s very difficult to work with existing homes,” Olshansky said. “The only real way to deal with this is when a fire breaks out.”

Proposals requiring developers to build in the least risky areas and prepare evacuation plans are considered by lawmakers to prepare for what the state could repeat last year’s record wildfire season. It’s part of a $ 10 bill package.

A bill by Senator Henry Stern, a Democrat representing parts of Los Angeles County and Ventura County, adds to state fire marshal that local governments must meet before allowing new housing in the most vulnerable areas. Will require the development of mandatory standards. This measure is opposed by builders and other companies and real estate groups. Governor Gavin Newsom rejected another version last year.

Nick Kammarota, senior vice chairman and legal counsel for the California Building Industry Association, did not immediately return a message asking for comment on Thursday.

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Other bills seek to strengthen the standards for new housing development. Lawmakers are also trying to promote more open burning and step up efforts to protect individual homes from wildfires. Last year’s fire burned 4% of the state: 6,653 square miles (717,231 square kilometers), killing 33 people and destroying more than 10,000 homes and other structures.

The report estimates that 1.4 million California homes are located in areas identified as being at high risk of burning in a wildfire. However, researchers said the numbers are likely to be much higher, as the state has not updated the fire risk map since 2007.

Researchers have proposed imposing a 0.25% fee on all new properties in fire-prone areas. This could spend more than $ 1.8 billion on wildfire risk reduction plans and projects, such as fuel damage and open burning.

Researchers said that continuing to allow housing development near the wilderness would increase insurance costs and put a significant burden on the local economy. From 1964 to 1990, the insurance industry paid an average of $ 100 million annually on California fire claims, according to the report. Following the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons, insurers paid about $ 26 billion.

Next10 founder F. Noel Perry said: ..

“Withdrawing from wilderness development can bring a lot of positive things to it. Environment, finance, finances, humans, you name it,” he added.

Last week, insurance commissioner Roberto Lara released a draft recommendation aimed at limiting the construction of buildings in areas at high risk of wildfires.

The recommendations also call for the expansion of strict building codes. If local authorities insist on building in a location that is still exposed to wildfires, the recommendation is through the state fair plan, which is the last resort of insurance for homeowners who have been denied traditional compensation. We want to prevent those homes from getting insurance.

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Copyright 2021 Associated Press.

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