New Online Tool to Estimate Wildfire Risks


For 50+ years, homebuyers and renters could calculate their vulnerability to flooding.  Now, homebuyers and renters can do the same for wildfire risk for free.

First-of-its-Kind Tool to Show Wildfire Risk for Properties in Lower 48 States

The non-profit research group, First Street Foundation, has just released the first-of-its-kind tool that indicates current and future wildfire risk for properties across the lower 48 states in the US.  (Federal maps from the US Forest Service are not intended to be used for individual properties.)

First Street gives every home a unique score and unique probabilities of wildfire risk.  Scores go lowest to most extreme wildfire risk, 1 – 10.

The First Street Foundation uses information from satellite imagery, historical data, building materials, roof types, climate, surrounding combustible fuels such as trees and vegetation, fire height and speed along.  Top scientists, engineers and data specialists evaluate that information to determine wildfire risks specific to each residential or commercial property.

Every property, be the residential or commercial property for-sale or not for sale, is tractable via RiskFactor’s new technology maps.

This information is being displayed on now…other real estate sites will have this information subsequently.

Fire Risk Across the US

Risk of wildfires is prevalent in 71.8M properties today.  In thirty years from now, it is estimated that 79.8M properties will have wildfire risks, an increase of +11.1%

Currently, the distribution in properties at risk of wildfires (145M analyzed) looks like this:

  • Minor – 49.4M properties
  • Moderate – 20.2M properties
  • Major – 6.0M properties
  • Severe – 2.7M properties
  • Extreme – 1.5M properties

There are now 10M properties across the US that are estimated to be under major/severe/extreme fire risk right now.

Where Risks Most Prevalent Now and Into Near Future

We don’t have to look too far to know that severe/extreme wildfire risk is prevalent in the water-starved states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico (home to the current worst wildfires in the country) Montana, Wyoming and Texas.

As climate extremes become more prevalent, wildfire risk is expected to increase by some 200% over the next 30 years while flood risk damage is expected to increase by “only” 25%.

States with increasing wildfire risks include:

  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts

According to Diana Ollick with CNBC, people searching for homes on real estate portals click flood risk factors second only to schools. It’s likely that wildfire risk factors will soon assume a top click-bait response from potential buyers as well.

Thanks to CNBC and First Street Foundation.

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