SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Even before fire wiped out the home she rented for 17 years, Suzanne Finzell had thought about leaving this city on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Area because of rising prices. A spike in housing and other living costs had driven her friends to Nevada and Oregon.
Now, Finzell wonders if that will be her fate too, as the wildfires that charred California wine country send thousands of people who lost their homes scrambling for new places to live in one of the nation’s tightest and most expensive housing markets.
Before the fires, the rental vacancy rate was a mere 1 percent in Santa Rosa and 3 percent in surrounding Sonoma County. Then the city lost an estimated 5 percent of its housing stock to the flames.
“We had a housing crisis before the fires,” Mayor Chris Coursey said Wednesday. “It’s magnitudes worse now.”
Meanwhile, authorities reported more progress against the flames. The deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said crews had stopped the movement of all fires.
Firefighters were helped by cooler weather and the lack of wind. Forecasters expect a tenth of an inch of rain in the affected areas on Thursday — not enough to quench any fires outright but still welcome.
The fires that swept through parts of seven counties were the deadliest and most destructive series of blazes in California history. At least 42 people died and 6,000 homes were lost.
Josh Edelson, AFP/Getty Images
Homeowner Martha Marquez looks over her burned home in Santa Rosa, California on Oct. 10, 2017.
Firefighters encouraged by weakening winds were battling 17 large wildfires on Tuesday in California which have left at least 13 people dead, thousands homeless and ravaged the state’s famed wine country.
Elijah Nouvelage, AFP/Getty Images
Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood on Oct. 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California
More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday to help battle infernos which have left at least 21 people dead and thousands homeless.
Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images
Ben Pederson find’s a school yearbook in the remains of his bedroom after his family’s home was destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017.
The death toll from some of California’s worst ever wildfires rose to 17 as thousands of firefighters battled to bring the infernos under control. The fires which …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – News