SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With California experiencing some of the most devastating wildfires in the United States in recent years, it should come at no surprise that nine of the 15 most at-risk metropolitan areas in the country are in the Golden State.
According to a new report from CoreLogic, researchers found that these areas make up more than 42 percent of the homes at risk.
“It’s no surprise that California tops the list of the most homes at high-to-extreme wildfire risk, given the state’s size and population density, as well as the popularity of residential expansion into the wildland urban interface,” Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic, said. “The high density of homes located in wildfire-susceptible areas only increases the threat of future catastrophic events and the possibility of billion-dollar losses.”
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The 2019 CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Report evaluates the combined number of residences at risk of wildfire by state, the reconstruction cost value, and notable wildfires in the past few years.
Linda Moya lives in Cameron Park, California. She says she is living in fear that her home may be destroyed by wildfire.
"I worry about it all the time," Moya said. Like I said, if I leave for a couple of days, I figure that whatever I've left when I come back it's not going to be there."
Moya has moved any important personal belongings like family photos to her daughter's home in Folsom for safety.
"I'm fearful that one of these days it's gonna light up and it's gonna burn. Most of Cameron Park is that way," Moya said.
While Raj Hotpati of Folsom doesn't fear for his home to be destroyed by a wildfire, he is concerned about the growing costs associated with destructive fires.
"The fire insurance is going up, my insurance also has gone up," Hotpati said. "Last year I was paying about $600, not it has gone to double."
The Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego metropolitan areas top the list for the number of homes at risk of high-to-extreme wildfire damage and for cost to rebuild. There are more than 305,000 homes in these areas with high-to-extreme risk of wildfire damage, according to the report.
The Sacramento metro area — which stretches from Davis to Placerville — ranks fourth on list. There are 68,056 homes with high-to-extreme risk of wildfire damage, the report wrote. The Truckee and Salinas metro areas rank in the top 15 with a combined 43,211 homes at a high-to-extreme risk of wildfire damage.
The report looked at homes currently at risk in the 13 most Western states and breaks down significant wildfire events that happened in 2017 and 2018. Those events included the Mendocino Complex Fire, Carr Fire, and the devastating Camp Fire which struck Paradise.
The report found that more 8,767,492 acres burned in 2018 – a size roughly equivalent to 74 of the 75 largest cities in the United States combined. The number is the sixth-highest acreage burned in the United States since modern records began in the mid-1900’s.
Core Logic is a California based research company that focuses on financial, property, and consumer information and analytics services.
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