(KRON) — California takes wildfires seriously year-round, and the Bay Area Council recently completed a study to see how prevention and insurance costs work together.
The California Resilience Challenge is a Bay Area Council initiative where they focus on towns like Paradise, a small community with limited resources to fight wildfires. Back in 2018, the Camp Fire killed 86 people and destroyed more than 18,000 homes in Paradise.
“What if you did the home hardening and on top of that you did the buffer zones surrounding the community and within the community itself? What’s the full aggregate of risk reduction we could get?” said Adrian Covert, Bay Area Council.
The study found that if homeowners took measures like clearing vegetations, they could reduce their risk of wildfires losses by 75-percent. The homeowner, however, is just a piece of the puzzle. Covert said towns like Paradise also have to play an important role by creating open space buffer zones, such as parks and playgrounds.
“They’re well aware of the findings and the city is looking to implement wildfire informed development patterns so that’s what we’re calling it to reduce the risk,” said Covert.
Wildfire prevention is not just a life-saving measure, but also insurance saving. “Which translates to a 55-percent reduction in premiums. That’s a game changer for the town of Paradise,” said Covert.
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Paradise is still rebuilding after the Camp Fire and is incorporating the study’s findings into the plans. “It’s showing that with proper management, people can live within the foothills of the Sierra and in these areas that are prone to these fires. That you can actually mitigate against the damage associated with that,” said Kevin Phillips, former Paradise town manager.
Phillips said fire prevention measures are required for Paradise homeowners and are now a part of the town’s building codes.