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The U.S. has seen a record number of wildfires over the past few years. In 2018, more than 8 million acres were burned, which is about the equivalent of 74 of the 75 largest cities in the U.S. combined, according to the newly released 2019 CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Report. Unlike other natural disasters, such as from flooding or hail, a wildfire usually results in a 100% loss of a home.
The highest threat of wildfires and largest number of acreage burned in 2018 was in California (1.8 million acres burned in 2018), followed by Nevada (1 million acres burned) and Oregon (897,000 acres burned). By metro area, California cities had the highest threats—Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego ranked in the top three as highest risk areas. These cities have more than 42% of its homes that are high-to-extreme wildfire 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,” says Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “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.”