Homeowners and businesses spend millions of dollars each year on landscaping. When a wildfire burns through a lawn, it can take more than just the trees and plants. It will burn statuary, wooden structures, and more. Many of California’s fire burn hot enough to sterilize the soil, burning away many of the nutrients that plants need to grow. Recovering the soil can take years and thousands of dollars. Landscaping is important for more than simply good looks; those plants and grasses help to keep the soil in place against rain and wind.
Destruction of Tree Cover, Crops, and Agricultural Equipment in California Wildfires
California wildfires can do serious damage and cause catastrophic amounts of economic loss when they rage through agricultural land, whether it is being used for the cultivation of crops or for animal husbandry. Fires can also cause millions of dollars of damages in tree losses by destroying trees on residential properties.
Cattle pasture has been the hardest hit agricultural land in recent wildfires, with thousands of acres of grazing land being destroyed in recent years, forcing owners to sell their herds as a result of the loss of their primary food source. Though cattle, horses, and other livestock typically outrun wildfires, sometimes they are unable to and are tragically killed by fires.
Among the crops destroyed, avocados have been hardest hit as fires burn through mountain valleys, scorching trees, and damaging the fruit. Lemon and other citrus trees are important Southern California crops that are susceptible to fire damage, along with cabbage, beets, and berries. When fire destroys bee hives, not only is the honey production damaged, but without bees to pollinate them, other crops may also be negatively affected.
Forests and Tree Cover
When wildfires destroy forests, the lack of a healthy tree cover can lead to soil erosion. Flooding and mudslides are a common occurrence when there are no longer trees holding the soil in place nor a canopy to moderate the impact of a heavy rainfall, which can cause additional damage long after the fire has been put out.
Residential Tree Loss
Part of the value of a beautiful home is its setting, and mature trees are often an important element of the residential landscape, adding functional and aesthetic value to your home. Trees serve many purposes: framing and providing background for the home, creating a privacy screen, cooling the home by providing shade, functioning as a windbreak, purifying the air, and providing shelter for wildlife are just a few. These and other functions often give significant value to a tree that may be destroyed in a fire.
Many people who have had their property damaged by fire are not fully aware of the value of a mature tree, which can sometimes be tens of thousands of dollars. You have the right to seek compensation for all the damage to your property, including loss of trees that took many years to grow. We work closely with professional arborists who help us determine the economic value of a tree based on its type, size, age, condition, placement, function, and aesthetic contribution to the property. With this expert input, our California Fire Attorneys are often able to prove the value of the trees and will work to see that you are adequately compensated for the loss.
Machinery, Labor, and Equipment
In addition to losing crops, animals, and pasture, farmers may lose machinery and agricultural equipment, for example irrigation systems and plastic crop covers used in berry cultivation. In some instances, because of smoke and the danger of nearby wildfires spreading, workers in certain areas have been forced to evacuate, causing loss of labor needed to bring in the harvest, which is a time-sensitive agricultural activity.
Experienced Legal Assistance for Agriculture-Based Fire Damage Claims
Handling fire damage claims is a specialized area of legal practice that requires specific knowledge and experience. It would be difficult for an individual to get a fair settlement without legal counsel because the utility companies and insurers who may be found liable for paying these claims have the resources to fight claims vigorously. An individual unfamiliar with the tactics they employ is at a distinct disadvantage when facing up to these corporate giants.
If you have suffered damage to your land, crops, animals, or agricultural equipment resulting in financial losses, you will need an experienced fire damage attorney working on your behalf. The California Fire Lawyers at the Singleton Schreiber have the expertise that comes from successfully recovering millions of dollars in California wildfire damage claims. Our lawyers were part of a team that successfully sued San Diego Gas &Electric and recovered money for more than 1600 people who lost property in Southern California’s Witch Creek and Guejito fires that took place in 2007, winning these high dollar recoveries through intense and demanding litigation. We were able to demonstrate that utility company negligence, not an “act of God,” was the cause of the fires and recovered sufficient awards to allow these property owners to recover and move on with their lives.
We are deeply committed to fairness for anyone who has suffered losses as a result of another’s negligence, and we have the legal knowledge, skill, and passion to fight unceasingly until justice is done.
The California Fire Damage Lawyers at Singleton Schreiber offer a free legal consultation to anyone who has lost property or who has suffered injuries due to a California wildfire. Call us today to find out if you have a case against a utility company or other entity or individual to recover a monetary award as compensation for your damages and to learn more about our demonstrable track record of success in winning money for our clients.