The wildfires that burned in California this current season have now damaged or completely destroyed more than 3,500 structures, according to the latest data from Cal Fire.
The wildfire season in California has been particularly active again, despite the accepted peak of the season approaching.
By the end of September, 7,758 wildfire incidents had burned about 2.5 million acres of land between them.
However, in 2021, the number of wildfire deaths in California is just 3 so far, well below recent seasons.
Property damage continues even with recent advances in fire control by firefighters.
Cal Fire said 3,524 structures, a combination of residential and commercial properties, as well as other agricultural buildings, have been destroyed so far.
The most impactful wildfires of 2021 so far are the Dixie and Caldor fires, both of which are still burning but 94% and 83% contained respectively.
The Dixie Fire, which burned in Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta and Tehama counties, is the second largest wildfire on record in California, at more than 963,300 acres.
The Dixie Fire ripped through and destroyed 1,329 structures, damaging 95 others.
The Caldor Fire in El Dorado, Amador and Alpine counties burned nearly 222,000 acres and destroyed 1,003 structures, with another 81 structures damaged.
Both the Dixie and Caldor wildfires are among the 20 most destructive wildfires on record in California.
While the season has certainly been shocking, its costs to the insurance and reinsurance industry are still rising and there is a way to go before the fire season ends.
Traditionally, the season began in June and ended in November, with October often being the peak.
But now, the wildfire season has been seen to drag into December in some years, with the driest November also considered a peak month.
In a recent report, Aon’s impact forecasting unit commented on the fire activity in September, saying: “Abundant fuels resulting from persistent and long-term moderate to exceptional drought conditions, combined with periods of unusually high temperatures. warm and gusty winds continued to rise and ignite dangerous wildfires. in California throughout September. “
Adding that, “The damage to structures and national parks in California from the wildfires in September only suggests a non-negligible financial cost.”
However, the broker’s team has not yet relied on potential insurance and reinsurance market losses from the California wildfire season thus far, only providing an estimate of the economic loss.
Saying the September wildfire burning “will add to a combined cost of the California YTD wildfire damage that was anticipated to result in an economic loss of billions of dollars (USD).”
There is a way to go for the 2021 wildfire season in California and the rest of the western US states, so there are plenty of opportunities for insured losses to rise even further.
The availability of insurance and reinsurance against wildfires continues to suffer, and prices are also increasing.
As we explained yesterday, the latest wildfire catastrophe bond has just traded at a particularly significant multiple, showing that ILS rates for wildfire risk are also increasing year over year.