What about the seasonal cabins that the Dixie Fire destroyed along the Chester Warner Valley Road north of Chester? Or those in the surrounding forest and Lassen National Park?
PG&E will be responsible for paying for the damages caused by the Dixie Fire. After all, PG&E has all but admitted that it was their equipment that sparked the fire. Under the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation, PG&E has to compensate the owners for the value of the property destroyed. The damage for which PG&E will be responsible includes damage to the homes and cabins along the Chester Warner Valley Road north of Chester. The fact that many of the cabins were only used seasonally does not matter.
Many of the cabins that the Dixie Fire destroyed sat on privately owned land. The damage caused by the fire to the cabins, wells, outbuildings, and other improvements is all compensable. And it the cabin owner also owned the land on which the cabin sat, PG&E will have to pay for damage to the trees and vegetation and the costs of dealing with any resulting erosion.
Some private cabins were located on government forest land. Private owners had to obtain a Special Use permit. Whether these owners get to rebuild will likely depend on the whether a government analysis finds that rebuilding should be allowed. If rebuilding is not allowed, then the Special Use permit ends. In that case, the owner cannot seek the costs of rebuilding against PG&E but could still pursue against PG&E “loss of use” damages.
Owners who are approved for rebuilding will likely need a construction expert to calculate the reasonable costs of rebuilding the structure that was destroyed. Whether the owner of the cabin will be responsible for the cleanup of the dead trees and vegetation would hinge on the language of the Special Use permit. The costs of cleaning up the dead trees and vegetation will also need to be calculated and those will be more expensive than expected, particularly in more remote locations like the Chester Warner Valley Road. All such costs would be included in the owner’s Dixie Fire claim.