Fires

Sonoma County fire now tied for costliest in California history

‘Every house is gone and the school is all that’s left,’ says Sonoma schools leader

Northern California’s Oct. 8 wildfires were among the most destructive in U.S. history, and in Sonoma County, they uprooted an entire school system.
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Northern California’s Oct. 8 wildfires were among the most destructive in U.S. history, and in Sonoma County, they uprooted an entire school system.

The Tubbs Fire that ripped through Sonoma County caused just under $2.8 billion in losses, state officials said Tuesday, making it one of the two costliest blazes in California history.

Figures released by the state Department of Insurance showed that insured damages from the deadly Sonoma fire have reached $2.79 billion. That means it has nearly eclipsed the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991, which caused roughly $2.8 billion in covered damages when adjusted for inflation.

All told, the series of wildfires that struck wine country and portions of the foothills northeast of Sacramento on Oct. 8 have generated more than $3.3 billion in covered losses, with the vast majority occurring in wine country. The statistics are based on claims filed with 15 major property-casualty insurers.

“These insured loss figures just reflect the current numbers,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones at a press briefing. “We can anticipate as more claims are filed … these numbers will increase.”

Other sources predict the losses could escalate by a considerable margin. Risk Management Solutions Inc., an East Bay insurance consulting firm, said last week that the loss from the multiple clusters of wildfires along the North Coast could reach $6 billion to $8 billion. Those figures cover only Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Lake and Mendocino counties; they don’t include the fire damage in Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties.

Jones’ department said more than 14,000 homes were damaged or totally destroyed, along with nearly 4,000 commercial buildings, 3,200 cars and 111 boats. Sonoma County took the brunt of the damage, with almost 12,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

The commissioner said his figures don’t include uninsured losses, including damage to schools, community centers and other public buildings.

Meanwhile, Cal Fire reported Tuesday that the Tubbs Fire, the deadliest of the fires, was finally 100 percent contained. The fire consumed nearly 37,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

Where the losses occurred

Insured losses from the Oct. 8 wildfires struck hardest in Sonoma County but affected other areas, too.

Butte: $8.7 million

Lake: $50.7 million

Mendocino: $117.6 million

Napa: $272.9 million

Nevada: $8.3 million

Solano: $155,000

Sonoma: $2.79 billion

Yuba: $50.2 million

Other: $21.4 million

Total: $3.32 billion

Source: California Department of Insurance

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