Calculating the Comprehensive Impact
High intensity wildfire events in the Santa Cruz Mountains are becoming more common and much costlier. Yet, little work has been done to calculate the comprehensive impact of these events on local communities, landowners, agencies, and residents. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) requested this comprehensive cost analysis of the September 2016 Loma Fire in Santa Clara County to better understand the challenge and to begin a discussion about changes in policy and stewardship that would reduce the scale and cost of future wildfire events.
Given that the frequency, intensity, and total cost of these events will likely continue to rise, stakeholders could benefit from an in-depth review and discussion about measures that could reduce damages from future wildfires.
Loma Fire burned 22% of the Upper Llagas Creek watershed and 8% of the Upper Uvas Creek watershed.
Morgan Hill and Gilroy: cities in close proximity to high-risk fire hazard areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Loma Fire resulted in the loss of 21% of annual ecosystem service value, an average of $540,769 each year.
The Loma Fire resulted in the loss of 76% of stored carbon value, an average of $2,083,141.
Total cost of sedimentation due to the Loma Fire: $498,812 to $2,992,871
Areas subjected to soil burn (moderate-high burn severity) are more prone to increased flood flows, sedimentation, erosion, debris flows, and shallow landslides.
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