“Building is subsidized for the relatively well off in California’s beautiful hills. Wildfires are part of the natural system in California. Should we encourage construction where we know there will one day be fire?”
Lost in the mix, however, is the way that existing development restrictions in fire-safe regions have encouraged home-building in high-risk areas, while perverse insurance regulations have shielded property owners from the true costs of living there.
“Ultimately there are people living in high-risk zones who cannot afford to bear the full risk of the places they’ve chosen to live,” says R.J. Lehmann, an insurance policy expert at R Street Institute.