I said it on September 5, 2007 and it bears repeating now.
If you build on an earthquake fault line, you better build earthquake proof.
If you build in the middle of a forest, you better build fireproof.
If you build next to an ocean, below sea level, you better build floodproof.
If you build on top of a volcano, you are stupid and deserve what you get.
Many of the homes that were destroyed in California were built in an arid area with forests all around. Many homes out there are also built near an earthquake fault line. These homes were just setting there asking to be destroyed in one manner or another. In some of the interviews, it appears that many homeowners were warned to clear out low lying shrubs for a distance from their homes after the fires of 2003. Some of those that did were spared damage, but those that didn't were consumed. Hopefully the replacement houses will be built responsibly with some effort to protect them from fire and earthquake. There are ways now to construct homes so they act as a unit and are not completely shaken apart when an earthquake hits and there are obvious ways to help keep a fire from starting using the correct materials and building in the correct location.
OR you can leave it up to chance and hope that you're just dumb and lucky.
Who is responsible for someone else's stupidity and irresponsibility? Will all of our insurance rates increase because of hurricane damage on the coast line or forest fire damage in the forests or earthquake damage near fault lines? Those of us who build our homes above the flood plain, away from forests, clear of fault lines, far from coast lines and try to protect our homes have seen our insurance increase many times over the years, even though there have never been any claims on our part. Some part of this doesn't seem fair. Well, nobody guaranteed that life would always be fair. Sometimes, it's just being in the right place at the right time - or vice versa.