Entrepreneur

Natural Disasters Are On The Rise. That's a Big Business Opportunity.

The increase of hurricanes, floods and fires worldwide has created increased demand and opportunity for brands and franchises in the restoration space.
In Ventura County, Calif., wildfires destroyed some homes and spared others. Source: Alex Hoerner
In Ventura County, Calif., wildfires destroyed some homes and spared others. Alex Hoerner

A staircase to nowhere and some charred I beams are all that’s left of a house that once commanded million-dollar views of California’s Bell Canyon. A burned-out Mercedes sits beside them, waiting to be hauled away. Stapled to the home’s mailbox is a county demolition order that reads unsafe; the front yard is littered with debris.

The house in this affluent neighborhood has looked like this since November, when the Woolsey Fire left it -- along with 100 other homes around the bowl-shaped canyon north of Malibu -- in various states of destruction. Inside the ruins, refrigerator doors tilt open, exposing rotted food. Drawers hang ajar from slouching kitchen cabinets. A couch is visible through one broken window, a candy dish still sitting on the nearby coffee table.

The massive blaze was one of three fires that touched off on the same day and tore through Southern California for weeks, the deadliest and most devastating natural in state history, and the costliest on the planet in 2018. In this tony gated subdivision, the fire was particularly cruel, thanks to the Santa Ana winds. Embers circled the ridge above the valley and picked off houses randomly, while leaving others seemingly untouched.

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