Will the new fire map affect your insurance rates? – Plumas News

By Debra Moore

(protected mail)

Unexpected results.

As the people of Plumas County looked at the map displayed on the wall of the Mineral Building, they saw a sea of ​​red. Many now live in what Cal Fire calls “very high risk” zones. Although the map is designed to be a tool to help agencies manage fire risk, the concern is that it will void the homeowner’s insurance or increase expenses. .


A group of Cal Fire employees held a public meeting at the stadium in Quincy from 6 to 8 pm on January 17 – the first half of a social media campaign, but the time it was left as an uninspiring question-and-answer. , where they posed questions like “why would Greenville still be considered a very high fire risk when there is nothing left to burn?” The answer: There is a chance that it will burn out again in the future, given more things.

The updated map focuses on the state’s areas of responsibility; it does not apply to federal lands, or to areas where local agencies are responsible. There is a handy tool to determine the condition of your own home. Go to this map and write your address. (I know I live in a local duty area, but most of the other addresses I give are in the state duty area and are considered very high risk.)

How the map came about

According to the introduction, Fire Hazard Severity Zone (FHSZ) The maps are generated using a scientific and experimental model to assign a score. Hazards refer to factors affecting fire risk and fire behavior. There are many factors to consider such as fire history, fuel availability and availability (natural vegetation), predicting fire duration, fire intensity , terrain, and average fire rate for the area. There are three levels of risk in State Duty Units: medium, high, and very high.


Fire Danger Zone maps assess “danger,” not “danger,” which seemed to divide the speakers and the audience. According to CalFire, “Hazard” is based on the physical conditions that cause an accident and expected fire behavior over a 30- to 50-year period without considering mitigation measures such as fire suppression. buildings, recent fires, or fuel shortages. “Risk” is the damage a fire could do to the site under current conditions, accounting for any changes such as fuel reduction projects, protected spaces, and fire-resistant building construction. .

So, although Greenville is considered a “danger” because of physical conditions that indicate it could burn (which it did), the “danger” may not occur in a soon due to the current situation.

Many in the audience spoke about money and efforts made to strengthen local communities in firefighting, but nothing was considered in the CalFire map.

The press stuck to a script as they gave detailed information about how the maps were produced and showed a short video from someone who involved in production. It can be viewed by clicking here.


Following the presentation, the audience was invited to present and record their comments as part of the public hearing. Those who are not participating can still report on Feb. 3 by email to (protected mail) or write to:

State Fire Marshall’s Office

C/O: FHSZ Info

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Box 944246

Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

General information says

Speakers were asked to limit their speech to three minutes. The top audience included four members of the board of supervisors: Dwight Ceresola, Jeff Engel, Greg Hagwood and Tom McGowan. Also in attendance was Planning Director Tracy Ferguson and County Administrative Officer Debra Lucero.

Retired Lake Almanor Basin firefighter Tony Taylor said it appears a broad brush was taken to the Lake Almanor Peninsula with no thought to the geography, or the work done in the area. “It seems like a one-size-fits-all approach,” he said.


That sentiment was expressed by two other residents of Almanor, Bob and Barbara MacArthur, who spoke about the changing landscape post Dixie Fire, as well as what can be done to lower the “high” level. was given to the area.

Bob Orange, the Indian fire chief, asked Cal Fire to review the areas. “There is absolutely no oil,” he said and worried about the millions of dollars in insurance increases that will occur.

Andrew Courtright, a Greenville resident, also spoke about insurance costs. “Mr. Lara said, “Your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t seem to be affected,” he said, adding, “Insurers say that’s the first map they look at.” (Mr. Lara is Ricardo Lara, the state insurance commissioner.) He gave a statement that was distributed among other things during the meeting. It reads in part: “Cal Fire maps are intended to drive local planning decisions, not insurance decisions.” The announcement said insurance companies use other fire risk factors to determine where they write and renew policies, and how much to pay a policyholder, but not map of the Fire Hazard Severity Zone.


Kyle Felker, who lives in East Quincy, discussed the millions of dollars of work that has been done to reduce fire danger in the county, but not reflected on the map. “It looks like you brought that bad 2007 data into this map,” he said, referring to the last time this map was updated.

Sally McGowan, vice president of the Plumas Fire Safe Council, also discussed the millions of dollars and efforts made to protect Plumas County and called for a review of the map.

Taylorsville resident Trina Cunningham echoed a sentiment echoed by others: If this State Task Force deems the risk so high, then Cal Fire needs to be more involved. the district. (There is currently one small office in Quincy, but no locations.)

Supervisor Greg Hagwood questioned the process. “Decisions have been made; the maps are done, then you come here to listen to our complaints,” he said, adding that those who created the maps have never visited Plumas County. He said this is a situation he has seen playing out with the Forest Service. Hagwood also said, “the insurance rates will bankrupt families and cause them to leave.”


After Hagwood’s speech, the hearing part of the meeting was closed since no one wanted to speak out loud. Cal Fire members turned off the cameras and spoke freely with the participants.

Scott Packwood, representing Cal Fire, spoke to some of the sentiments about their absence from the area. “Many of us want to have a strong presence here, maybe up to eight places or more.” He also asked the participants to see the positive results from the map, which means that more money will come into the area to fight the dangers of fire.

County Executive Officer Debra Lucero asked why Cal Fire didn’t work more closely with the county agencies in drawing up the maps since they know the area so well. He was told that Cal Fire worked with local Cal Fire employees to get their input. It shared that the maps were drawn up by Cal Fire because the legislature directed the state fire marshal to do so, but before the process was released. how to make it happen. As a result, it appears to be an internal process.


According to Lucero, the resulting maps are a distraction for people who spend money to protect their homes if they are not reflected in the maps or their insurance.

Planning Director Tracy Ferguson asked why there were 2,625 more acres in State Duty Units than the 2007 map. Packwood explained that the effort was done four times. clear signs that are not relevant – like two sides of the same road with different signs.

Once the process of finalizing the state maps is complete, it will move on to local responsibility areas. General information on the state map is due by Feb. 3.

Those who need more information about the entire process can view fact sheets, frequently asked questions and answers, as well as several videos on four process c. osfm.fire.ca.gov

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