In the cruelest of ironies, while Hurricane Delta drenched the Gulf Coast this weekend, there’s not even a drizzle to slow a climate change-induced California wildfire larger than the size of Rhode Island that rages on as you read this.
Exploding to more than a blazing million active acres this past week, the August Complex, in its two months of unremitting fury, has reached “gigafire” status, the first in California’s modern history. Overall, it has lost four million acres representing about 4% of the entire state, double the previous annual record in a place where the wildfire season is now three months longer than in the 1970s.
The personal loss out west for many cannot be overestimated, but the immense inferno’s impacts have consequences across the continent to this coast.
Strawberries, lettuce and wine may be among the hardest expected to be hit with costs or shortage while government agencies are monitoring agriculture and other commodities, such as almonds, avocados, cauliflower, broccoli and honey. But the big ticket item in growth and development appears to be lumber.
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With factors such as the surging pandemic-fueled demand for Southwest Florida homes, we had already been experiencing escalating prices for domiciles and other structures prior to the Golden State’s summer of ferocious flames.
“The rising lumber prices are exacerbating the cost of purchasing a home, and wildfires can only increase that impact,” said Brian Alford, Florida director of market analytics for real estate