California spends billions rebuilding burned towns. The case for calling it quits for the night
California’s battle for wildfires is as old as man-made climate change. And as we’ve written in our series, it is as complicated as the state’s economy.
But the fires in the wine country, and the damage they wrought on state and local economies, could soon leave the people of California holding the bag.
The state is facing a cash crunch — there’s no way it can rebuild from the fires. And it’s not clear the state has any mechanism, legal or otherwise, to bail out the towns affected by the fires.
Even if it did, though, there are good reasons to go to bed before the alarm goes off.
The problem is that California’s economic future seems to be in jeopardy, and the fires and the money they cost have only added to the woes.
But what may be the real nightmare — the one that’s hardest to bear — is the risk of losing the fires.
To understand that, we need to take a step back and think about the state’s economic future. It’s a complex subject, but it helps illuminate the reasons fires have become the state’s bane.
California’s wine country, which includes Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties, has experienced a huge rise in its population in recent decades — from just 3.8 million residents, to 11.6 million today.
That’s a big jump in just 20 years, and it’s part of what economists call “demographic transformation,” where a nation’s population suddenly doubles or triples in size.
The wine country’s population boom began in the 1990s and early 2000s, when a surge in the population of Southern California’s suburbs led to a wave of development that included sprawl development and building homes, condos, and even golf courses.
Now there’s a “perfect storm”