California Wildfires, Hurricane Michael Top List of 2018’s Costliest Natural Disasters: Munich Re

The costliest natural catastrophes occurred in the United States in 2018 with one of California’s devastating wildfires and Hurricane Michael topping the list, according to Munich Re.

A report from Munich Re on last year’s natural disasters pointed to “clear indications” that man-made climate change is a factor in California’s wildfires.

California Utility Sued by Insurers Over Wildfire Damages

Several insurance companies have filed lawsuits blaming Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a deadly California wildfire that destroyed 14,000 homes and triggered billions of dollars in insurance claims.

The lawsuits filed by Allstate, State Farm, USAA and their subsidiaries come on top of several other cases filed by victims of the Camp Fire, which devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow north of Sacramento after it started Nov. 8.

Power Restored to Last of 10K Paradise Residents Hit by California Wildfire

A Northern California utility says it has restored power interrupted by a wildfire six weeks ago to all customers able to receive it.

Pacific Gas & Electric said this week the last of about 10,000 residents of Paradise and the surrounding area that lost electricity on Nov. 8 had their power restored by Sunday night. The San Francisco-based utility said it still working to restore natural gas service to many customers.

Northern California's Chico Opens Its Arms to Camp Fire Survivors. But There Are Limits

(TNS) — More than any other Northern California community, Chico has opened its arms to Camp Fire survivors from nearby Paradise.

An estimated 10,000 to 20,000 evacuees have crowded into Chico following the deadliest wildfire in California history, swelling the population by at least 10 percent in a city that was already laboring under a housing shortage. Survivors are taking relatives' spare bedrooms and sleeping in campers in friends' backyards, while their children now attend school in Chico's churches and community centers — and even in a vacant spot in the city's main shopping mall.

Schools Open 3 Weeks After Northern California Wildfire

Monday marked a return to school and some semblance of routine for thousands of children who lost their homes to a deadly wildfire in Northern California.

Schools in Butte County have been closed since Nov. 8, when the Camp Fire ignited and quickly swept through the towns of Paradise, Concow and Magalia in what would become the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. At least 88 people were killed and dozens remain unaccounted for.

Many of the Dead in Camp Fire Were Disabled. Could They Have Been Saved?

(TNS) — Sixty-three-year-old Ernest Foss had swollen legs and couldn’t walk. Vinnie Carota, 65, was missing a leg and didn’t have a car. Evelyn Cline, 83, had a car but struggled to get in it without help.

Dorothy Herrera, 93, had onset dementia and her husband Louis, 86, couldn’t drive anymore. And 78-year-old John Digby was just feeling sick the morning of the Camp Fire when he refused a neighbor’s offer to drive him to safety.

For thousands of displaced Paradise residents, recovery is a whole new challenge

Toward the end of a recent news conference held to update the public on the recovery effort in Paradise, a man rose from the audience with a question.

He understood that making the burn area safe for people to return to would be difficult. Especially with the near-constant threat of debris flows. But when could he go back?

Research Finds Fire-Resistant Building Codes Do Not Raise Home Prices

Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report.

The research released Tuesday was sponsored in part by the insurance industry and marks the first attempt to quantify the expenses associated with building residences that meet stringent flame-resistant criteria. Few states have adopted such codes, often citing housing costs, but the new findings suggest fire-plagued communities could curb damage and save lives with minimal effect on home buyers.

Zinke says Northern California fire costs likely in billions

PARADISE, CALIF.
Costs associated with a deadly Northern California wildfire will likely be in the billions, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Monday as he returned to the town of Paradise, saying he has never witnessed such devastation.

"There's a lot of things I'd rather spend this federal money on rather than repairing damage of things that have been destroyed," he said. Zinke nodded to other public services, such as improving visitor experiences at Yosemite National Park or thinning forests as options for the money.

Wildfire Relief for PG&E in California May Not Include Fix Utility Wants

PG&E Corp., suspected of starting California’s deadliest wildfire, may soon get help from state lawmakers – just not the help it most wants.

As early as Dec. 3, a lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would give the state’s largest utility owner a way to pay off billions of dollars in potential liabilities it faces from the Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. It killed at least 85 people, torched more than 13,600 homes and sent PG&E shares spiraling.

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