What happens to California’s private land after wildfires?

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WikiTribune journalist Charles Turner is on the ground reporting in fire-damaged areas of California. Read his first story here on how dogs are helping find the ashes of loved ones. Below is the outline of another report he’s working on that remains in-progress.

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1. Homeowners

  • Reports from or about people who have lost their homes or suffered property damage as a result of wildfires.
  • Add more here

2. Public safety

  • Reports from or about fire departments and other public safety organizations that declare areas safe for return and recovery.
  • What metrics or procedures are used to make post-fire determinations?
  • Add more here

3. Insurance companies

  • Reports from or about insurance companies and how they assess property damage and work with property owners, lending institutions and other interested parties.

4. Banks and other lenders

  • Approximately 70 percent of all owner-occupied residences in California are under mortgage to a bank or other lending institution.
  • Reports from or about how these institutions work with property owners and others to protect their own investments.
  • Add more here

5. State, county and city officials

  • Reports from or about government agencies and the role they play in the process.
  • For example: How are new property taxes on land destroyed or damaged by wildfires re-assessed?

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6. Developers and contractors

  • Reports from or about the people who actually repair and build new structures on damaged property.
  • How do wildfires change their usual operations?
  • Add more here

7. Environmental groups and politicians

  • As more people become convinced the recent spate of wildfires in California (and other places) is connected to climate change, what influence are these people exerting on land-use and other public policies?

8. Property owners

  • Reports from and about beleaguered property owners who, in addition to losing their homes, have to manage all of the interests and procedures listed above.
  • How does one best manage a return to and reclamation of land after a wildfire?

9. Other interests

  • What other group plays a role in helping recover private land and property after a wildfire?
  • Add more here

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WikiTribune wants to know what happens after the fires are extinguished:

  • What processes do property owners returning to their land have to follow?
  • How do they navigate all the competing post-fire interests that may affect how their land is reclaimed?
  • How long does it take for land to recover?
  • Who makes these decisions?
Forest fire in San Bernardino, California, 2018
Forest fire in San Bernardino, California, 2018. Photo by Steve Whitby/San Bernardino Nat’l Forest via Flickr. License: Public domain.
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