Report Shows Wyoming, Idaho Have ‘Disproportionate Risk’ From Wildfires
Lately when people say “wildfire” California is probably the first state that comes to mind.
But a new report is expected to cover people living in a few other western states who are not often mentioned when the risk of wildfires is factored in.
Wyoming and Idaho top the list of disproportionate economic risks in terms of real estate at risk of wildfire, according to a report released Wednesday by disaster modeling firm CoreLogic.
In states like Wyoming and Idaho, more of the population is relocated at one time, which means recovery times are longer, fewer local workers are available, and there are fewer options. temporary accommodation available for outside workers “due to demand from the local population,” according to the report.
The report takes as an example the 2018 camp fire in California, which affected more than 14,000 homes. A campfire-like event in Idaho could burn 1,709 homes, but since those 1,709 properties represent a much larger fraction of the housing stock than California, “the economic impact is worse and the cut is deeper,” which results in a much longer recovery, âthe report says.
The bottom line is that the cost of reconstruction in these states will be much higher in the event of extreme loss.
Having Wyoming and Idaho at the top of the disproportionate economic spending list was not what the report’s authors expected.
âIt was a surprise,â said Tom Larsen, senior director of content strategy for disaster modeller CoreLogic.
The two states were not considered high frequency areas, nor are they as populated as other states, such as California, which is expected to be in the foreground in the company’s latest wildfire report. .
âThe loss levels we’re looking at here are extreme loss,â Larsen said. “We didn’t go into this project thinking we have Wyoming and Idaho in the spotlight.”
The report breaks down the percentage of the forest fire-risk housing stock in the western states, listing 0.10% of California’s at-risk housing stock. Washington (0.02%), Oregon (0.04%), and Colorado (0.05%) are other states in the report that are often mentioned when wildfires come to mind.
In Idaho, 0.22% of the state’s housing stock is at risk, and in Wyoming, 0.29% of the state’s housing stock is at risk, according to the report.
Across the western United States, wildfires “are now a more continuing fire threat,” according to CoreLogic, and record droughts are contributing to the increase in the number and intensity of fires in recent years – 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.
The report also mentions climate change as one of the culprits.
âClimate change is impacting natural hazards around the world – forest fires are more frequent, larger and more intense than they have been in the past. Preparing for and responding to wildfire hazards to help protect home and business owners is more critical than ever, âthe report says.
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