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California Wildfire Insurance Claims Total $11.4 Billion For November 2018

Kathleen Ronayne/AP via NPR
Volunteers search for remains at a mobile home park in Paradise, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 23. The Camp Fire destroyed the town

California residents who suffered catastrophic losses due to the November 2018 wildfires filed insurance claims totaling $11.4 billion, according to new estimates released by state insurance officials.

The announcement by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara represents a 25 percent hike — more than $2.3 billion — over the estimate in December.

Counting all of the other 2018 California wildfires, the total damage claims has reached $12.4 billion, Lara said.

"Today, we have a clearer picture of the loss from the devastating Camp and Woolsey fires," said Commissioner Lara. "To the residents of Paradise, Butte, Malibu, Los Angeles and the other communities who have lost so much—we stand with you on the long road to recovery."

Butte County, which includes the Northern California town of Paradise, sustained the most damage. The Camp Fire there claimed 86 lives and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. Claims from that fire alone total $8.4 billion, Lara said in a news conference.

Two other wildfires in Southern California, the Woolseyand the Hill Fires, resulted in almost $3 billion in damage claims.

The figures come as Pacific Gas and Electric Co., California's largest utility, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection this week. Its transmission lines are suspected of igniting the Camp Fire, although an investigation is still ongoing.

Copyright 2019 NPR