California, Texas, Colorado Homeowners at Most Risk From Wildfires

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In 2015, wildfires in the U.S. burned more than 10 million acres, the highest total ever recorded. Fires consumed over 4 million acres more than the average acreage burned over the past 20 years.

There are 893,333 homes in the 13 western states that face “extreme” risk from wildfires, according to a new report from CoreLogic. The estimated reconstruction value of all those homes totals nearly $219 billion. Another 919,392 homes face “high” risk, and their reconstruction value tops $281 billion. Including homes in areas where fire risk is identified as “moderate” or “low,” the total reconstruction value tops $7 trillion, with the majority ($6.63 trillion) in the “low” range.

Looking only at homes with “extreme” or “high” risk in the four regions assigned by CoreLogic, the Southern Rockies/South Central region (Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas) has nearly 800,000 homes at risk, and the Desert/Pacific Southwest (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona) has more than 731,000 homes at risk. The Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon) has more than 126,000 homes at risk, and the Northern Rockies has nearly 165,000 homes at risk.

The following list shows the five states with the most homes at “extreme” and “high” risk along with the reconstruction value of those homes.

California
> Homes with extreme risk and reconstruction value: 263,152; $90.26 billion
> Homes with high risk and reconstruction value: 382,293; $163.42 billion

Texas
> Homes with extreme risk and reconstruction value: 261,595; $41.44 billion
> Homes with high risk and reconstruction value: 270,722; $52.42 billion

Colorado
> Homes with extreme risk and reconstruction value: 117,832; $32.65 billion
> Homes with high risk and reconstruction value: 77,769; $21.57 billion

Idaho
> Homes with extreme risk and reconstruction value: 41,230; $9.66 billion
> Homes with high risk and reconstruction value: 26,647; $5.77 billion

New Mexico
> Homes with extreme risk and reconstruction value: 38,911; $9.16 billion
> Homes with high risk and reconstruction value: 24,318; $5.54 billion

The number of fires in any year has fluctuated, but the trend has been down over the past 10 years. Unfortunately the number of acres burned has been trending up. CoreLogic notes:

Fewer wildfires with more acres burned appears to be the trajectory of wildfires in the U.S. The obvious result is that larger fires, which are often more difficult to contain, can threaten larger numbers of properties.

See the full CoreLogic report for more data and the methodology used to evaluate wildfire risk.