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California’s wildfires are out of control. With hundreds of thousands of acres burned since mid-July, it raises questions about rebuilding in these risky areas. Andrea Tuttle, former director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said county officials will continue to approve neighborhood rebuilds because the development increases the local tax base.

Last year when the wildfires destroyed thousands of homes, local officials issued permits for homes to be rebuilt without updating the building codes and in some cases, people could build bigger homes than the ones that existed.

To encourage people to rebuild, state officials proposed that residents who lost their homes be protected from increases in insurance premiums. Local officials are reluctant to tell people they will not be allowed to replace the homes they lost.

Efforts may have been well-intentioned, Bloomberg’s report said, but the upshot is that state and federal taxpayers ultimately bear the financial risks that come with another fire.

State and federal agencies spent more than $2 billion fighting wildfires in 2017 and 2018 with insurance payouts topping $11 billion, Bloomberg said,. But an estimated 1 million new homes will be built in high-risk fire zones by 2050, setting off a new round of loss and reconstruction.

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