The Dixie Fire is now the second largest wildfire in California history, at nearly 500,000 acres. So far, it has destroyed more than 1000 structures, including 550 homes. It has totally destroyed the town of Greenville.
Though the fire boundaries are huge, it’s unlikely that PG&E’s financial liability from the Dixie Fire will come close to its liability for the Camp or North Bay Fires. Those fire burned more than 25,000 structures.
Estimates of the dollar amount of damages caused by the Dixie Fire thus far are hard to come by. Guggenheim Securities says that total damages may already exceed $1 Billion. If that is true, and if PG&E must pay for all of it, then PG&E’s liability would exceed the limits of its private insurance. To pay survivors’ claims, PG&E would then have to draw from the state-sponsored wildfire insurance fund. Currently, there is $10 billion available in the fund for that purpose. (The insurance fund is unrelated to the Fire Victims Trust Fund, which was set aside for the victims of the Camp, North Bay, and Butte Fires.)
Right now, then, there’s money to cover the Dixie losses. The worry is that we’re still early in the fire season. The Dixie Fire might not be the only drain on the state-sponsored fund.