This year, California broke a sad record. We had the largest wildfire in modern history, burning more than 1 million acres over seven counties and sending choking smoke across the state. Recently, 90,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Southern California. The untold level of destruction has yet to be fully quantified or understood. One thing we do know is that the wildfires and COVID-19 have underscored the growing complexity of California’s disaster landscape.
While addressing these issues remains a top priority in Sacramento, according to a new report from the California Council on Science & Technology, our capacity for doing so is limited by a concerning inability to accurately account for the full costs associated with the damage. The council’s report finds that our standard means of calculating wildfire costs do not provide sufficient data, leading to widespread unquantified losses such