Wildfires are a devastating threat to homeowners everywhere, especially in the Western U.S. These blazes wreak havoc in the lives of thousands of people every year.
Federal government data shows that while the number of wildfires has decreased in recent years, the amount of area that typically burns in each fire is on the rise.
The 2022 Wildfire Risk Report from analytics firm CoreLogic notes:
“Over the last decade, wildfire activity is becoming more extreme and destructive with more record-breaking fire events in terms of number of structures lost and acres burned in a single event.”
During the most recent decade, wildfires have burned an average of 6.8 million acres annually, CoreLogic says. That is a sharp rise from the annual average of 2.7 million acres per year from 1983 to 1992.
Residents of some states are at much higher risk of wildfire damage than others. CoreLogic says the following places have the greatest number of homes at risk.
Single-family residences in this state that are at risk of wildfire damage: 1,265,435
Surprisingly, a 2017 review of historical trends found that the number of wildfires in California actually peaked in 1980 and had been decreasing in recent decades.
But drought conditions over the past few years have caused a more recent increase in fire activity. And in a state as highly populated as California, that puts many homes at risk.
Single-family residences in this state that are at risk of wildfire damage: 814,499
Like California, Florida is one of the most populated states in the nation, putting more homes in danger when wildfires break out.
One recent study projected that due to climate change, the percentage of homes at risk from wildfires in Florida could jump from the current 6% to 12% by 2052. And because Florida is so densely populated, more than 70% of all wildfires already threaten some type of structure in the state, according to the Florida Forest Service.
Single-family residences in this state that are at risk of wildfire damage: 474,560
Texas rounds out the trio of highly populated states with the most homes at risk of wildfire damage. As with the other states on this list, the fear is that as climate change dries out the landscape, future fires could become more destructive.
The rest of the top 10
Here are the rest of the top 10 states with the most homes at risk of wildfire damage, and the number of those homes:
- Colorado: 319,799
- New Mexico: 120,428
- Oregon: 119,541
- Arizona: 119,231
- Idaho: 96,939
- Alaska: 84,882
- Montana: 80,694