North Bay Fire Recovery
In October 2017, devastating wildfires swept through the North Bay, burning more than 245,000 acres in total. Sonoma County was hit the hardest, with over 5,000 homes and many businesses destroyed. In the following months, countless community groups began the long, difficult, and ongoing task of rebuilding Sonoma and the surrounding counties. While the immediate post disaster relief work has been completed, rebuilding the community will be a longer road ahead, and it will require ongoing research and planning as the climate continues to change. Over the course of the past year and a half, the Economic Institute has held or attended dozens of meetings and convenings, developed a database of public and private sector data, and has provided policy technical assistance to a variety of public departments and officials. To ensure the public availability of that research and provide a foundation of knowledge and analysis, the Institute developed this report and associated appendices.
Moving forward, it will be beneficial for the various rebuilding and resiliency efforts to have access to a broad and common set of data, analysis of these data, and technical policy expertise. Being able to share the same set of information about the impact of the fires, the needs of the community, and best practices for planning will be critical to the success of these multiple organizations in rebuilding Sonoma County.
In that spirit, the primary objectives of this report are:
1. to document and ensure the public availability of the conversations, research, and findings accumulated during the Institute’s work; and
2. to provide a foundation of knowledge in the Institute’s core study areas from which stakeholders can rely on and make informed decisions with.