Challenges We Face

Cumulative Impact of Lake County's Disasters

60% of our Land Mass has burned

Since 2015, Lake County has experienced a number of devastating fire storms.

In July of 2015, the Rocky Fire claimed 43 homes.  After the Rocky Fire came the Jerusalem Fire, destroying 6 homes.  In September of 2015, the Valley Fire struck, and 1,280 homes were lost, leading to a federal disaster declaration.  The following year, in August of 2016, the Clayton Fire leveled 189 homes.  In October of 2017, the Sulphur Fire, another federal disaster, destroyed 138 homes.  The Pawnee Fire, in early summer 2018, claimed another 12 homes.  Most recently, we were struck by the River and Ranch Fires, also known as the “Mendocino Complex”, now the largest recorded wildfire event in the history of the State of California, which consumed another 157 homes.  

Over the last four fire seasons 1,950 housing units have burned which includes multi-family homes and 1,825 single family homes.

Facts and Figures

To say that Lake County’s financial resources have been severely compromised by all the disasters would be a considerable understatement.

•    Our cumulative property tax loss, which includes the one year backfill for the Valley Fire, totals at $4,113,587.00.
•    Due to the disasters, we have also lost revenue from TOT, Direct Charges Waived and Special Districts Revenue Losses.  Losses total $5,240,593.00 and growing.
•    5.5% of our housing stock was lost.
•    After three years of devastating fire seasons, 60% of our land mass has burned .
•    Our rebuild effort is 15% complete, and slow going.


Valley Fire Permits

   Applied Issued
Single Family Home
 283  331*  158
 Mobile Home
 90  114*  65

223 = 17.4% Finaled
*of 1280 homes lost, permits issued to 445 equaling 35%

Disaster Recovery

In order to combat this deficit, in June of 2018, Lake County put forward a sales tax measure, intended to enable the County to financially recover from the recent disasters— the measure failed.  Our community is in recovery, but with limited resources, recovery is slow.

No other California county is dealing with such compounding effects of disaster.  Throughout our disaster response, we have operated at 80% staffing levels. December 4, 2018, the Lake County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan to implement draconian cuts required to be ready for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Lake County will no longer be able to carry out business as usual, absent new revenue.