As California fires rage, what does it mean for classic cars?

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Los Angeles Fire Department wildfire camp fire Los Angeles Fire Department

California is experiencing devastating losses as multiple fires continue to blaze through the state. As of this writing 44 deaths have been reported, and CBS reports that both the Camp and the Woolsey fires are only 30-percent contained. Our claims team predicts these fires may not be fully under control until the end of the month. Human lives come first in disasters like this, which means that many non-essentials get left behind when people evacuate their homes.

Thousands of lives have been affected by the blazes as they continue to spread. The Camp fire alone has destroyed more than 7000 structures, including 6453 homes and residences, according to CNN. On Monday, we received word that the Norman Timbs Special succumbed to the flames; it was in a collection of more than 30 cars.

Protecting human lives is the most important thing in situations like this. We can’t stress this enough. We encourage those in the fires’ path to do what they can to protect their belongings, but safety is paramount and the speed of these fires often means there is simply no time to gather much of anything before fleeing.

Wildfire
Wildfire United States Department of Agriculture

Wildfires burn hot and move extremely quickly, leaving very little in their wake that isn’t destroyed. When those who evacuated are able to return, often there’s nothing left. And that includes of vintage cars and pieces of automotive history. Unfortunately, wildfires often mean the worst possible fate for classic cars. Even if a car’s structure remains after the disaster, the heat exposure can weaken the metal and make restoration impossible.

Our claims team is already helping members affected by the fires. Hagerty is here to help finalize claims as quickly as possible so members can begin moving forward with rebuilding their lives. Many of those affected have not been able to return to their property yet and are still gathering information about the status of their homes and belongings by watching the news or speaking to firefighters familiar with area conditions.

If you’re unaffected by the fires but would like to help, donations can be made to the Red Cross and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation.

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