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  • Ryan Wittler

Over Half of All Properties in the Contiguous U.S. Face at Least Some Wildfire Risk


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A new report from the First Street Foundation shows 56% of all properties in the contiguous U.S. face at least some wildfire risk over the next three decades.


Report highlights:


The report estimates 71.8 million U.S. homes face some level of wildfire risk in 2022, rising to 79.8 million by 2050.


Of all the properties that have some risk, over 686,000 face a risk greater than 1%.

  • Florida is home to the most properties with at least 1% risk, followed by Texas and California.

  • While seemingly small, First Street says that 1% can compound over time, rising to 26% over 30 years, the average span of a mortgage in the U.S.


The report, released ahead of what many experts believe will be an above-average wildfire season, gives each address in the Lower 48 a wildfire risk rating from 1-10.

  • The rating is based on First Street’s Wildfire Model, which it says “integrates information on fuels, wildfire weather, and ignition.”

  • It includes robust information on combustible fuels, including vegetation, and makes a novel update reclassifying homes and buildings from a “nonburnable” type of fuel to a “burnable” type, thereby more accurately predicting fire spread.


Why it matters:


The abovementioned 1% risk threshold is no random stat; it’s the same risk degree the government uses to determine which houses are required to carry flood insurance.

  • First Street says wildfire risk is even more dangerous than flooding, as floods often only damage parts of homes, while fires are more likely to destroy it entirely.


You can use First Street’s tools to check your home’s flood and fire risks here.



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