A just-released report by CoreLogic, a provider of data analytics and business services, identified more than 740,000 residences across 13 states in the western United States currently at high or very high risk for wildfire damage in 2012. Together, the homes represent an estimated property value of more than $136 billion in total.
The 2012 CoreLogic Wildfire Hazard Risk Report was developed to provide the insurance industry, financial services companies, homeowners and others impacted by wildfire outbreaks with a better understanding of wildfire risk in the United States. It examined 13 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Washington), six cities (Los Angeles, Calif; San Diego, Calif; Boulder, Colo; Austin, Texas; Albuquerque, N.M. and Salt Lake City, Utah), and top zip codes at risk within each metro area.
Key findings in the CoreLogic report include:
• The states most commonly associated with wildfires also contain the most properties at risk: California, Colorado and Texas contain the largest number of properties categorized as Very High Risk, with a combined property value exceeding $20 billion. Adding the homes located in the High Risk category increases the total property value at risk to more than $62 billion.
• California contains a total of 49,258 homes at Very High Risk, with another 48,901 and 28,490 in Colorado and Texas, respectively.
• Of the six cities analyzed in the report, Los Angeles is home to the most single-family residences exposed to wildfire risk, with more than 29,000 properties in the High or Very High Risk categories. The total value of the homes in those two categories is estimated to be nearly $10 billion, with Malibu at the top of the list of zip code areas with more than $900 million in potential residential property exposure to wildfire risk.
“As residential development has expanded into formerly undeveloped wildlands, the transitional area between the two, known as the Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI), has become exceptionally vulnerable to wildfire,” said Howard Botts, VP and director of database development for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions. “Approximately 40% of homes in the United States are located in that zone, and wind-blown embers are capable of igniting homes located hundreds, or even thousands of feet away from an actual fire.”
The CoreLogic report states that between the years of 1990 to 2008, there were close to 17 million new homes built in the United States, of which 10 million (58%) were located in the WUI and therefore potentially located near high wildfire risk zones.
To download a complete copy of the CoreLogic Wildfire Report, click here.
Based in Santa Ana, Calif., CoreLogic is a leading provider of consumer, financial and property information, analytics and services to business and government.