How Many Homes Were Destroyed by California Fires in 2021?

a home about to be destroiyed by a fire from a 2021 fire in california that wasn't protected by a precast fence

In the past decades, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number and strength of wildfires. Driven largely by climate change, California has been especially hard hit. 

2021 was the worst year so far. In August 2021, California fought its largest single wildfire – the Dixie Fire. 

Just how bad was the fire season in 2021? How much damage was done? Could anything be done to lessen the impact of wildfires in the future?

California Fire Season 2021 Numbers

In 2021, 1,968,326 acres burned, and 3,050 structures were damaged or destroyed. When you compare these numbers to 2013 – when 601,635 acres burned, and 456 structures were damaged or destroyed – you can start to see the problem.

One fire, the Dixie Fire, destroyed nearly 1,000 buildings, with 550 of that being homes. That’s more destroyed homes by one fire than all of the destroyed structures from a whole year (2013). 

This increase in wildfires is largely driven by climate changes. While wildfires have always been a part of California’s naturally dry environment, climate change is upsetting a delicate balance.

The combined effect of warmer springs and summers, less snowpack, and the snow melting earlier has a disastrous impact. These changes have resulted in a longer and more intense dry season. This makes the vegetation of California more vulnerable to fire.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates that in recent years the length of the fire season has increased by 75 days.

Two Things to Do

While action is being taken at a state and federal level to help the situation, the average homeowner can be left feeling a little helpless. Here are two things you can do to lower the risk of your property being lost to or damaged by a wildfire.

Use Precast Concrete

Concrete is non-combustible, meaning it doesn’t burn. Using it wherever possible will reduce the amount of fuel for a fire. 

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of precast concrete’s natural ability to fend off fire is by using precast concrete for all your fencing needs. This is especially useful for rural properties.

Precast concrete can actually act as a fire barrier, meaning fire cannot travel beyond it. Since fencing usually attaches to other structures like a home or a barn, wood fences can be a direct path to them.  Precast concrete fencing stops the fire from traveling along the fence to those other structures. 

Clear Vegetation 

Not only does removing vegetation remove fuel for a fire, but it makes firefighters more likely to save your home. 

Sadly, firefighters have to make hard decisions. They often can’t save every home. They look for homes that they have a better chance of saving. 

Homes with old, dry vegetation around the home are harder to save. Remove all the dead vegetation and lower branches on trees. It’s a good idea to clean out the gutters and roof of all leaves and twigs too.

American Precast Concrete Inc.

At American Precast, we want to ensure that your home is protected to the fullest extent. Contact us today to see how our precast concrete walls can help keep your home from being impacted by the wildfires that engulfed California every year.