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California Wildfires Spark Utility Investigations and New Regulations
Southern California is under siege from multiple wildfires, fuelled by extreme heat and the fiercest Santa Ana winds to hit the region in a decade. Last week, the Thomas Fire — the largest and most destructive fire currently raging in the region — grew to 250,000 acres and claimed the life of a young fire engineer. This week, the blaze continues to spread across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties despite Herculean efforts to contain it.
Governor Jerry Brown called this “the new normal,” speaking at The New York Times’ ClimateTECH conference in San Francisco late last month. “California is burning up,” he said. “The fire season is not a couple of months in the summer; it’s virtually year-round.”
The risk of wildfires, enhanced by the higher temperatures and erratic weather brought by climate change, increases the urgency for California, as well as other state and national…
Climate-Change Disasters Cost U.S. More Than $200 Billion This Year
After a year of unprecedented fires and floods, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change will cost the United States more than $200 billion.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were among the most expensive hurricanes in U.S. history, according to the disaster tracking group Enki Holdings. Combined with a severe and unusually long wildfire season, the government will need to pay at least $216 billion in disaster relief, more than the annual gross domestic product of Portugal.
The disaster relief bill passed by Congress this fall only provides $36.5 billion to be split between both flood damage and wildfire fighting.
The vast majority of costs from natural disasters came from this year’s hurricane season, which caused an estimated $206.6 billion in damage, the most expensive season on record according to a report released by Enki that used a computer simulator along with economic and infrastructure data to estimate the costs of every hurricane since 1871….