CIRS Blog about Rural California
Napa and Sonoma counties were affected by wildfires in October 2017 spread by very high winds. Over 4,700 homes were destroyed, including 3,000 in Santa Rosa, and 10,000 were damaged; 43 people died and 100,000 people were displaced by the fires. Insured losses are over $7.5 billion, making the October 2017 fires the most costly in U.S. history.
With an unemployment rate of less than three percent in a county adding jobs faster than homes, median home prices in Sonoma County topped $650,000 in November 2017.
The fires were likely caused by sparking power lines downed by winds that gusted to more than 70 mph. The 2017 wine grape harvest was almost completed when the fires broke out, so speculation centered on the longer-term effects of the fires on wineries and their workers, some of whom lost both wages and their housing.