In 2018 alone, wildfires ravaged 8,767,492 acres across the nation. Those 8,767,492 acres are the equivalent of 74 of the 75 largest cities in the US combined, according to CoreLogic.
This shift towards increasing burned acreage over the last 20 years has seen 8M acres burned per year nine times within the last 14 years.
CoreLogic recently compiled a list of the top 15 metro areas in which homes are at an elevated risk of wildfires. All 15 of these metro areas listed below are based upon a combined high/extreme wildfire risk and the Reconstruction Cost Value (RCV) of rebuilding:
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Metro Area High Risk Residential Count High Risk RCV
Los Angeles 121,589 $71.00B
Riverside 108,787 $40.94B
San Diego 75,096 $35.81B
Sacramento 68,056 $27.50B
Austin 53,984 $16.35B
San Francisco 32,174 $16.32B
Denver 49,734 $15.32B
Truckee 31,987 $10.87B
Oxnard 19,555 $10.17B
Colorado Springs 31,323 $9.36B
San Antonio 30,696 $8.43B
Santa Fe 23,546 $7.28B
Redding 21,057 $6.44B
Salinas 11,314 $6.39B
Houston 36,004 $6.27B
In a recent report by Redfin, this year’s fire season (so far) has been a “turning point” for residents. According to Lindsay Katz, a resident and Redfin agent, “It’s gotten so much worse, it didn’t used to happen every single year…people who live here and people buying homes here are getting fed up with the enduring smoke and enduring fire threats.”
This latest Redfin report indicated that seven of ten counties most at risk of losing housing value due to wildfires are in California:
– Los Angeles County – home to move than $1.2T worth of properties
– Orange County – home to $502.6B worth of properties
– Santa Clara County – home to $448.5B worth of properties
– San Diego County – home to $417.6B worth of properties
All this being said, wildfires are NOT just California problems. The average acreage of burned land in the US has doubled in the last ten years from 3.3M to 7M acres, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center, the premier information source on fire statistics in the US.