This paper examines vulnerability in the context of affluence and privilege. It focuses on the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm in California, USA to examine long-term lived experiences of the disaster. First, vulnerability is variegated between households within communities, including those in more affluent areas. Second, household vulnerability is collectively altered, and oftentimes reduced, by the broader affluent community within which individual households reside. By paying closer attention to the affluence–vulnerability interface the paper reveals a recursive process, which is significant in the context of building more disaster resilient communities.