Re/Insurance: California Wildfires Continue To Expand, Threaten Tens of Thousands of Structures

Re/Insurance: California Wildfires Continue To Expand, Threaten Tens of Thousands of Structures

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Originally published on Climateer Investing on 2020 08 24 by climateer https://climateerinvest.blogspot.com/2020/08/reinsurance-california-wildfires.html

What a difference three weeks makes.

Our July month-end look at the fire season to date was headlined: “

U.S. Wildfire Season Running Far Below Average

” The stats through July 30 were: Fires: 31,632  Acres: 2,052,246 versus the 10-year average of 3,849,351 acres burned through that date.

Today the National Interagency Fire Center is reporting 38,151 fires and  3,295,697 acres burned through August 23.

We’ll be back with the month-end NIFC states next week but right now two posts from Artemis.

First up, August 20:

California wildfires threaten tens of thousands of structures

The California wildfire season threat has ramped up considerably in the
last few days, as severe thunderstorms and lightning ignited numerous
new wildfires following a spell of hot and dry weather, that now sees
tens of thousands of structures and property including high-value homes
at-risk.

After the last two severe wildfire seasons in California and the
significant insurance and reinsurance market losses they drove, the
recent outbreak of fires are perhaps the most serious since.
The California wildfire season typically peaks later in the year as
well, meaning there is potentially a lot more of the severe wildfire
weather and threat to come.

Among the wildfires currently threatening properties and structures,
the LNU Lightning Complex collection of fires (started by lightning
strikes) around Napa and Sonoma Valley has now burned some 124,000 acres
and is threatening 25,000 structures, according to the California fire
authorities.
The LNU Lightning Complex wildfire has already destroyed 105
structures, with another 70 reported damaged and is zero percent
contained right now.

The CZU Lighning Complex wildfires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz
counties has spread to over 25,000 acres, with 8,593 structures
considered threatened and 20 so far destroyed. This fire complex, also
started by lightning, is zero percent contained as well.

The SCU Lightning Complex wildfires, again started by the storms of
the last couple of days, is burning across locations in Santa Clara,
Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.
102,000 acres in size, the burn area of the SCU fires threatens 3,798 properties and is just 5% contained….

….

MUCH MORE

And August 24:

California wildfires continue to expand, property damage & losses mounting

Over the weekend the wildfires burning in California have continue to
expand, with two of the lightning complex fires now in the top three
largest California wildfires on record, while losses due to property
damage from the fires are increasing.

Wildfires currently burning in California number well into the
hundreds and have burned through more than 1 million acres of land, an
astonishing figure for so early on in the season.
In total, the 2020 California wildfire season has burned over 1.4 million acres and destroyed some 3,114 structures to-date.

The LNU and SCU Lightning Complex fires, which were ignited by a
period of dry-lightning storms that affected the state during a
heatwave, are the two largest fires, each burning more than 300,000
acres so far.

For insurance, reinsurance and insurance-linked securities (ILS) fund
interests, the damage from the fires is not yet at levels to
particularly trouble the sector. But this wildfire activity so early in
the season is concerning and markets will be anticipating another
challenging year ahead, with the potential for severe wildfire losses.

The LNU Lightning Complex wildfires, which is made up of fires
including the Hennessey Fire, Aetna Fire, Walbridge Fire, Meyers Fire
and Round Fire, has now burned through over 347,600
acres and is just
21% contained so far.

It makes the LNU Lightning Complex fires, which are burning in Napa,
Sonoma, Solano, Lake & Yolo Counties, the second largest California
wildfire on record.

The LNU fires have now destroyed at least 871 structures
(residential, commercial and farm buildings), with another 234 damaged
and still 30,500 structures under threat.
The SCU Lightning Complex wildfires have now burned almost 334,000
acres
, making this the third largest California wildfire on record.

The SCU Complex fire is made up of numerous smaller lightning ignited
blazes across Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and
Stanislaus Counties. It is only 10% contained so far….

….

MUCH MORE 

For insurance estimates our first pass guess is $100,000 per structure damaged/destroyed.

As stated above, two of the fires currently burning are among California’s top ten on record.

Granted, the record is short and the fires are nowhere near the largest in U.S. history :

Historically Significant Wildland Fires

DateNameLocationAcresSignificance
October 1871PeshtigoWisconsin and Michigan3,780,0001,500 lives lost in Wisconsin
1871Great ChicagoIllinoisundetermined250 lives lost
17,400 structures destroyed
September 1881Lower MichiganMichigan2,500,000169 lives lost
3,000 structures destroyed
September 1894HinckleyMinnesota160,000418 lives lost
September 1894WisconsinWisconsinSeveral MillionUndetermined, some lives lost
February 1898Series of South Carolina firesSouth Carolina3,000,000Unconfirmed reports indicate 14 lives lost and numerous structures and sawmills destroyed
September 1902YacoultWashington and Oregon1,000,000 +38 lives lost
April 1903AdirondackNew York637,000Large amount of acreage burned
August 1910Great IdahoIdaho and Montana3,000,00085 lives lost
October 1918Cloquet-Moose LakeMinnesota1,200,000450 lives lost
38 communities destroyed
September 1923Giant BerkleyCaliforniaundetermined624 structures destroyed and 50 city blocks were leveled


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Randy Salars News And Comment

Copywriter and marketing consultant. Author of 'Stories And Recipes From The Soup Kitchen.' Freedom lover, adventurer, and treasure hunter.

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