Like with most natural disasters, the California wildfires did not discriminate—it affected people of all races, backgrounds, and incomes. One witness noted that when people drove to the beach campgrounds that served as temporary housing during the fire, people arrived in work trucks and Mercedes-Benz’ alike. Regardless of status, people arrived at the beach with only the clothing on their backs.
While migrant workers helped each other pack up their apartments as the fire came roaring down the hills, golf course and vineyard owners worked to save their livelihoods from the fires. Former PGA Master Johnny Miller climbed onto his roof with a hose to fight the fires. Vineyard owner Adam Mariani spent all night with friends and firefighters to dig firebreaks around his home and holdings.
At night, he drove into his less-flammable live vines to sleep, knowing his home wasn’t safe for the time being. Meanwhile, local golf course owner Tim Wall packed up his house and left it for the flames, but stayed to fight for his golf course. For him, the question of which property to save—his home or his golf course—came down to a simple question: which one would impact the local community more?
Thankfully, neither his course nor his home were one of the 8,400 structures burned.
The Same Suffering—Different Roads to Recovery
As much as workers and owners both faced the flames these past few weeks, their recoveries look remarkably different. Grape pickers have gone over a week without wages—a potentially life-changing setback for low-income households. One worker, Gonzalo Jauregui, was already knocking on doors looking for work the day after flames subsided. Over 2,500 evacuees lined up for lunch while shelters, soup kitchens, and donation centers geared up for the initial recovery effort.
Owners are facing a different sort of struggle, as many of them will need to start rebuilding vineyards and businesses that have existed for decades. Not just their livelihoods, but the livelihoods of the entire region are at stake. Many vineyard owners realize how vital their businesses are to the local economy. The morning that he realized his vineyward was safe, Adam Mariani hugged his teary-eyed workers. Both vintner and grape-picker had been spared the worst the fires had to offer and had reason to be relieved. With months of rebuilding ahead for Sonoma and Napa County, other workers and owners are not so lucky.
After filing thousands of claims for catastrophic loss, Arnold & Itkin knows what’s ahead for Northern California. We’re currently taking on fire insurance claim cases for homeowners throughout Napa Valley to help ensure the region recovers as quickly and completely as possible.
To learn how our firm can help your claim recover more than you might on your own, call (888) 493-1629 for a free review. We’ve won billions in verdicts and settlements in thousands of claims.