California Fires Cause $1 Billion in Damage, Burn 8,400 Buildings
California's insurance commissioner says preliminary estimates of losses from the state's recent siege of wildfires exceed $1 billion and that the figure is expected to rise.
Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran says Reno Fire crews are heading home on Friday after helping California crews fight fires there.
Meanwhile, the number of buildings destroyed by this month's California wildfires has been boosted again, to 8,400 from 7,700.
That's up from nearly 7,000 homes and other structures that were reported destroyed a day earlier by the fires that hit wine country and other areas north of San Francisco.
The number of buildings razed was increased as crews inspected damage in hard hit areas.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said assessment is nearly done, but the number will rise as the workers get to areas that have been difficult for them to reach
The wildfires broke out Oct. 8 in a large area north of San Francisco in and around the state's famed wine country.
California's insurance commissioner said preliminary estimates of wildfire losses that started Oct. 8 exceed $1 billion and that the figure is expected to rise. The fires killed 42.
The initial insurance total covered 4,177 partial residential losses, 5,449 total residential losses, 35 rental and condominium losses, 601 commercial property losses, more than 3,000 vehicle losses, 150 farm or agricultural equipment losses, and 39 boats. Those figures included some fire losses in Southern California - several dozen structures were destroyed or damaged in an Orange County fire - though most were from the northern part of the state, agency officials said.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's estimate of homes and structures destroyed was boosted to 6,900 from 5,700 as fire crews returned to hard-hit neighborhoods and assessed remote and rural areas they could not get to earlier, spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
He said most of the newly counted destroyed buildings burned on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 - when the wildfires broke out in wine country north of San Francisco and other nearby areas.
"The estimates are in structures and are mostly homes, but also includes commercial structures and outbuildings like barns and sheds," Berlant said.
Twenty-two of the 42 deaths in California's October fires happened in a Sonoma County wildfire, making it the third-deadliest in California history. A 1933 Los Angeles fire that killed 29 people was the deadliest, followed by the 1991 Oakland Hills fire killed 25.
When adjusted for inflation, the Oakland Hills fire is believed the costliest fire in California history at $2.8 billion. It destroyed about half as many homes and other buildings as the current series of fires.
California Gov. Jerry Brown late Wednesday issued an executive order to speed up recovery efforts as fire authorities say they've stopped the progress of wildfires.
More than 15,000 people remain evacuated Thursday, down from a high of 100,000 last Saturday.
Brown's order also allowed disrupted wineries to relocate tasting rooms and suspended state fees for mobile home parks and manufactured homes.
The order extends the state's prohibition on price gouging during emergencies until April 2018 and expedites hiring of personnel for emergency and recovery operations.
In Los Angeles County, authorities said a charred body was found on Mount Wilson, where crews were trying to surround a smoldering wildfire in steep terrain.
The male body discovered late Wednesday was recovered by the coroner's office, which will try to identify it, Sheriff's Sgt. Vincent Plair said.
California firefighters were also battling a blaze that sent smoke billowing into the college beach town of Santa Cruz.
The wildfire in steep and rugged terrain had grown to nearly half a square mile (1.3 square kilometers) and the number of houses threatened by the fire had doubled to 300.
Several firefighters suffered minor injuries.
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