A new report indicates there are 4.5 million U.S. homes at high or extreme risk of wildfire, with more than two million of them in California, according to the 2015 FireLine State Risk Reports issued by Verisk Insurance Solutions.
The report, which adds three new states, Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming, summarizes wildfire risk in 13 wildfire-prone states.
Key findings from the analysis include the following:
- California ranks first for the highest number of households at high or extreme risk with just over 2 million – approximately three times the second highest, Texas, with 706,200.
- The states with the highest percentage of households at high or extreme risk of wildfire are Montana (27 percent) and Idaho (25 percent).
- Colorado ranks third in terms of both number and percentage of households at high or extreme risk.
“Worsening drought conditions in the western states indicate that 2015 has the potential to be one of the most devastating wildfire seasons on record. The number of wildfires in California alone in the first five months of 2015 is up 54 percent over the five-year average for the same time period, says Neil Spector, president, Underwriting, Verisk Insurance Solutions. “It’s more important than ever for insurers to be prepared and manage their wildfire risk effectively.”
The reports are produced using data from FireLine, Verisk’s wildfire risk management service, which helps insurers assess wildfire risk at the address level. The service uses advanced remote sensing and digital mapping technology to determine the impact of three factors that contribute to wildfire risk: fuel, slope, and access. FireLine also identifies properties located in Special Hazard Interface Areas for risks exposed to wind-borne embers.
The FireLine State Risk Reports provide snapshot views of the wildfire risk in each FireLine state. The reports include:
- Wildfire risk at a glance;
- FireLine wildfire hazard map;
- Percentage and number of housing units at high, medium and low wildfire risk;
- Top five counties by number of housing units and highest concentration of high and extreme wildfire risk.
The Verisk 2015 FireLine State Risk Reports can be accessed at: www.verisk.com/riskreport.
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