Increase of Homes Nationwide At-Risk for Wildfire

Wildfire

According to a recent Claims Journal online article, the number of homes at risk for wildfires is on the rise in the U.S.

The study comes near the close of a 2013 fire season that saw the most destructive fire in Colorado history, marked one of the largest burns on record in California, caused the deaths of 33 firefighters and strained U.S. Forest Service firefighting resources.

The report highlighted a boom in construction in areas located between towns and hinterlands as a key new risk factor that drove the number of homes at risk up sharply from last year when the report estimated 740,000 homes worth $136 billion were threatened.

Colorado leads the score of homes nationwide at high risk from wildfire at 83,174, followed by California with 72,796, and Texas at 54,463.

Due to the obvious risk of living near grasslands and forested areas, a Colorado Task Force is proposing legislation to require homeowners to pay additional fees for living in high-risk areas.

The Task Force believes the fees are beyond necessary following historic wildfire seasons these last two summers. Moreover, increased attention has been directed towards wildfire prevention and mitigation services as the cost and intensity of wildfires continues to rise.

Claims Journal Excerpt: October 2, 2013: The recommendations seek to shift more responsibility to homeowners living in wildfire-prone areas after two consecutive summers of devastating fires that destroyed hundreds of homes.The group said Colorado should develop a map of areas where development overlaps with forested areas – called the Wildland-Urban Interface – to calculate risks to individual properties. Higher-risk homes would be assessed higher fees.

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