Oct 26, 2016

Nearly 2 million western homes face "severe risk" of fire

California
USA
by
Ed Leefeldt
,
CBS News via Moneywatch
A firefighter battles a wildfire near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Photo: Noah Berger
A firefighter battles a wildfire near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Photo: Noah Berger

If Arizona, California and other U.S. states seemed almost to be bursting into flames during fire season this year, 2017 could get even hotter. 

Real estate analytics firm CoreLogic shows that that 1.8 million single-family homes across 13 Western states are at “extreme or high risk” of damage from wildfires, with the total cost to repair approaching $500 billion. An additional 27 million properties in those states, with an estimated $6.7 trillion value, also face some risk of damage, the report added.

Despite the threat, home builders continue to erect housing in fire-prone areas, including tinderbox forests in hilly areas that have not seen much rain in years and where fighting fires on the ground is hazardous.

“The overall threat of wildfire has increased since 2015, in large part because of new construction in areas already at risk of wildfire,” said Tom Jeffery, CoreLogic’s senior hazard scientist. “In California, drought conditions have contributed to the increased wildfire risk in that region.”