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.
The total estimated cost of the Loma Fire is betweeen $29 million and $34.5 million to date. 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.