Wildfire Risks Go Well Beyond California

According to Verisk Insurance Solutions, 4.5 million U.S. homes are at high or extreme risk of wildfire, with more than two million in California alone. According to Munich RE, a reinsurer, there have been $23.1 billion in losses to wildfires in the U.S. over the past five years. 2017 was the worst year with $17 billion losses and that number will likely continue to grow due to climate change which is creating warmer and drier conditions.

California Wildfires


2017

9,560 fires

1,266,224 acres

Tubbs fire: Started October 8 and destroyed nearly 37,000 acres, 5,600 structures, 22 deaths.


2018

8,054 fires

1,823,153 acres

Camp fire: 85 deaths, 153,000 acres burned and 18,800 structures destroyed. Loss estimates are between $8.5 billion and $10.5 billion in dollars in insurance losses.


2019

8,194 fires

259,148 acres

Kincade Fire: In Sonoma County started October 23, burned 78,000 acres, 374 buildings destroyed and 60 more damaged.


Although recent attention has been on California because of the major wildfires over the last three years, there are wildfire risks in most states. According to Forest and Rangelands, this map shows counties with the highest level of wildfire, fire-adapted native vegetation, and communities concentrated within a broader wildland landscape. Many of these areas of high risk are located in most western states along with wide areas of south central and southeast states.


Source: The National Strategy: The Final Phase in the Development of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, www.forestsandrangelands.gov.

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