By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

Before wildfires struck earlier this year in northern California, the state already was struggling to provide housing for a growing population. Now, following the Camp Fire in Butte County, as well as four others in the past 14 months, thousands of Californians who lost their homes can find nowhere to live.

The wildfires in California have destroyed more than 20,000 homes in six counties. According to the Construction Industry Research Board, this equals more than 85 percent of all new housing in those counties in the past decade.

“We had a housing crisis prior to the fires,” Bob Raymer, a senior engineer with the California Building Industry Association, told the Los Angeles Times. “This only exacerbated the crisis. I can’t even put a measure on it. Just wow.”

This worsens housing affordability, according to Ben Metcalf, director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. California’s housing crisis has only deepened with the wildfires and less construction occurring in the state.

“It puts even more pressure on us to come up with creative solutions to our housing supply problems,” Metcalf told the Times.

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