California Fire Fires Exceed $ 11.4 Billion

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Losses from the deadly November 2018 forest fires in California surpassed $ 11.4 billion, making the series of these fires one of the most expensive in the history of the state, officials said Monday.

The fire that devastated the city of Paradise, which killed 86 people and destroyed about 15,000 homes, represents more than $ 8 billion, said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. About $ 3 billion worth of damage is related to two wildfires in southern California that broke out in the same week.

"We still have a long way to go before we can feel together again," Lara said after announcing the numbers.

The $ 11.4 billion total is slightly lower than the reported losses from the 2017 wildfires that ravaged the northern California wine region in October and southern California in December.

Although many more homes were destroyed during last year's wildfires, their value is much lower in rural California communities, officials said last year.

Losses could continue to increase. In total, California's wildfire insurance claims last year reached nearly $ 12.4 billion, Lara said.

The new figures come as Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the largest utility in the country, is preparing to go bankrupt on Tuesday. State officials have not yet determined the cause of the forest fires of last year, but PG & E equipment is suspected in the fire at Paradise.

California law makes electricity companies fully liable for damage caused by forest fires caused by their equipment, even if they are not considered negligent. PG & E reported being faced with billions of possible damages from fires.

Regardless of what is happening with the utility, California insurers are willing to pay all claims, most of which have been filed by residential property owners, Lara said.

"We are convinced that insurers have the means to guarantee the integrity of people," Lara said.