Plumes of smoke waft through California. Popular vacation spots have become evacuation zones. Neighborhoods are burning to the ground. As the climate changes and rainy days become even fewer and further between, the state is being forced to reckon with a demonic new season sandwiched between Summer and Fall: Fire season, the time of year you wear an N95 mask for reasons other than just a pandemic, and the smoky skies can make it feel like armageddon.
Yet, even in the areas at the highest risk for wildfires, property values seem almost impervious to the fiery destruction. Despite battling catastrophic annual fires, Napa County has seen its median home price rise almost 42 percent over the last five years, according to data from real estate company Redfin. Nearby Sonoma County, another high-risk area for wildfires, has seen its median home price rise more than 40 percent. And, nestled next to Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, which has battled the Caldor Fire in recent weeks, has seen its median home price rise almost 60 percent over the last five years.
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