America's Property Tax Advisor

California Wildfire Battles Continue

by Scott Donald, Irvine, December 2017

Local tax assessors are offering help for California businesses and homeowners who have lost their property to one of the worst wildfire outbreaks in modern history. Disaster relief phone lines and online links have been set up to help residents submit paperwork to get property tax relief.


The Fires


Six blazes have ravaged California this month. Together, the wildfires are larger than the areas of New York City and Boston combined.


They include:


  • Thomas Fire - This inferno has destroyed nearly 232,000 acres. It started December 4 in Ventura County and has since spread into neighboring Santa Barbara County. The Thomas fire has already destroyed more than 790 structures, according to Cal Fire. The costs of fighting the blaze have topped $34 million.

  • Creek Fire - The second-largest blaze ignited in Los Angeles County. It has burned 15,619 acres.

  • Rye Fire - This fire has torched 6,049 acres in Los Angeles County.

  • Lilac Fire- This fast-moving fire has consumed 4,100 acres in San Diego County.

  • Skirball Fire - Started as a brush fire in Los Angeles County, it has destroyed 422 acres.

  • Liberty Fire - This blaze in Riverside County has burned 300 acres.


Tax Relief


Property tax relief is available to property owners who have suffered damage from the wildfires. Residents may qualify for refunds on their December property tax payment and reductions going forward if their property had damage of $10,000 or more.


In Los Angeles County, the assessor's office established a disaster relief telephone line to help victims submit the required paperwork. The number is (213) 974-8658. The application can also be downloaded from the assessor's website.