(NEXSTAR) – The Maui fires are a terrifying reminder of the destruction that wildfires can cause. It’s a threat many Western U.S. residents are unfortunately familiar with.
A new report from CoreLogic analyzed how many homes and apartments in 14 Western states are at a high risk of fires. They looked at areas’ slope, drought conditions, wildfire fuel, wind and other factors to determine places with the most at-risk residences.
The West’s largest state, California, unsurprisingly had the most number of homes facing wildfire risk. The Golden State also had the highest estimated cost for rebuilding after a devastating fire.
While fires can occur anywhere, areas with lots of homes butted up against nature are at a higher risk. For example, in the Los Angeles metro area, residences “face an elevated risk due to their proximity to forested or undeveloped areas,” the CoreLogic report said. “This geographic placement can pose challenges for firefighting and evacuation efforts in case of a wildfire.”
The metro areas with the most at-risk homes in California, according to CoreLogic, are:
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim (242,188 residences)
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (212,921 residences)
- San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad (153,999 residences)
- Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom (102,291 residences)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley (92,824 residences)
In Texas, the metro areas with the most at-risk homes are:
- Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown (91,961 residences)
- San Antonio-New Braunfels (71,795 residences)
- Killeen-Temple (12,702 residences)
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (5,567 residences)
- Waco (2,636 residences)
In Colorado, the metro areas with the most at-risk homes are:
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood (69,287 residences)
- Colorado Springs (51,321 residences)
- Fort Collins (14,692 residences)
- Boulder (9,781 residences)
- Pueblo (3,242 residences)
In Oregon, the metro areas with the most at-risk homes are:
- Bend (31,782 residences)
- Grants Pass (20,784 residences)
- Medford (16,774 residences)
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro (5,707 residences)
- Salem (535 residences)
In Utah, the metro areas with the most at-risk homes are:
- Provo-Orem (10,790 residences)
- Salt Lake City (9,996 residences)
- Ogden-Clearfield (7,576 residences)
- St. George (1,962 residences)
- Logan (786 residences)
In New Mexico, the metro areas with the most at-risk homes are:
- Santa Fe (26,758 residences)
- Albuquerque (20,554 residences)
- Farmington (8,195 residences)
In Nevada, Reno has the most homes at risk (12,787). In Montana, the most at-risk residences are located in Missoula (9,376). In South Dakota, it’s Rapid City (11,732).
Washington, which has had several devastating wildfire seasons in recent years, has several metro areas at high risk. The Spokane/Spokane Valley area is the most populated at-risk area (25,118 homes), followed by Wenatchee and Yakima.
Fighting and suppressing fires is expensive, but rebuilding afterward is even more so. The Lahaina fire caused an estimated $3.2 billion in insured property losses, the Associated Press reported. That doesn’t include damage to properties that were not insured.
In California, the total reconstruction cost of all at-risk homes is about $761 billion.
Based on current climate trends, CoreLogic predicted the cost of wildfires will only grow in the years ahead. The U.S. Forest Service said climate change is making drought conditions worse, leading to more intense and more dangerous wildfires.
“Climate change is leading to conditions on the ground we have never encountered,” Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said last year.
Federal fire officials emphasized the importance of prescribed burns and keeping fire fuels under control to mitigate the harm caused by wildfires out West.