The 2016 wildfire season — as Weekly Industry News reported last week — wasn’t as bad as it has been the last couple of years and especially last year when it set records. And while that’s a good thing, the annual CoreLogic Wildfire Risk Report says we aren’t likely to have that happy circumstance in the future. It noted that there are 1.8 million single-family homes in the 13 Western states that are in extreme risk or high risk danger of wildfire damage.
And the total price tag for all those homes? Try $500 billion.
California has the most homes in both categories at 645,445 properties. Texas and Colorado are second and third with 532,317 and 195,601 homes respectively. The three states also have the highest reconstruction value with California at $250 billion, Texas sitting close to $94 billion and Colorado pushing past $54 billion.
Why is this important?
On average in the last 20 years 5.8 million acres in the West have burned every year. That number nearly doubled in 2015 to 10.1 million and it is felt this year’s low figure is an anomaly and that it’ll get worse in the future and not better.
Tom Jeffrey authored the report for CoreLogic. He said the governors of many Western state are pouring more resources into fighting wildfires and were able to address them early which helped keep the acreage burned down in 2016.
And the governors aren’t alone. Jeffrey said people in risk areas are also starting to catch on. “People in high risk areas, and especially in California with the drought, everybody gets the story. They understand that there’s a risk, and I think that individual homeowners are doing more to mitigate their property and that’s helping a lot too,” he said.
Jeffrey added another important aspect to address and one that isn’t being properly done, is limiting growth on wilderness boundaries aka the wildland urban interface. It’s growing and means even more homes are now in danger.
Carole Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association agrees with Jeffrey and the CoreLogic report. “Wildfire is a risk that science demonstrates that we can reduce damage and destruction of property by doing ongoing wildfire mitigation both as individuals and communities. Wildland urban interface residents also need to consider their insurability and at least on an annual basis update their insurance coverage and costs to repair and rebuild their homes,” she said.
These are the at risk home figures for the nine PIA Western Alliance states:
|| Extreme Risk
| 2.256 million
Source link: Insurance Journal