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Report: 13,000 Deschutes Co. homes at high wildfire risk


According to data released Thursday by CoreLogic, nearly 900,000 single-family homes across 13 states in the western U.S., including nearly 13,000 in Deschutes County, are currently designed at “High” or “Very High” risk for wildfire damage, representing a combined total reconstruction value estimated at more than $237 billion.

Of the total homes identified, just over 192,000 homes fall into the “Very High Risk” category alone, with total reconstruction cost valued at more than $49.6 billion.

In the Bend-Redmond metro area, 12,891 homes are categorized as either “High” or “Very High” risk, with a combined reconstruction value of $3,370,152,002. When analyzed by risk score, 13,853 homes with reconstruction costs valued at $3,620,183,280 fall into the highest risk segment of 81-100.

The CoreLogic Wildfire Risk analysis designates risk levels as “Very High,” “High,” “Moderate” and “Low.”

Two additional categories, “Urban” and “Agriculture” indicate homes at even lower risk. Homes designated as “Urban” are located in areas with such a dense concentration of buildings and infrastructure that little natural vegetation exists to support a wildfire.

Homes designated as “Agriculture” are located in areas comprised of row crops, orchards/vineyards or other specific land use that is typically irrigated. Even if it is not irrigated, the crops are nourished and healthy with no ground litter present, making the vegetation unlikely to support or enhance a wildfire.

The analysis also assigns a numeric risk score to each property, ranging from 1 to 100. This separate score indicates the physical property’s level of susceptibility to wildfire, as well as the risk associated with the property being located in close proximity to another high-risk property or area.

The score designation is important, since wildfire can easily expand to adjacent properties and cause significant damage even if that property was not originally considered high risk.

When expanding the analysis to include the numeric score, more than 1.1 million homes fall under the highest Wildfire Risk Score segment (81-100), representing a combined potential reconstruction value of more than $268.5 billion.

The states most commonly associated with wildfires also contain the most properties at risk – California, Colorado and Texas have the largest number of residential properties categorized as “Very High Risk,” with a combined reconstruction value exceeding $36 billion.

Including homes located in the “High Risk” category, the reconstruction value is more than $188 billion for these three states. When analyzed by risk score, 816,515 homes with reconstruction costs valued at more than $206.5 billion fall into the highest risk segment of 81-100.

Limiting the evaluation to property-level risk strictly in the “Very High” category, California tops the list of states analyzed with a total of 50,905 homes falling into that group. Comparatively, when assigning the Wildfire Risk Score, Texas takes the top spot with 451,848 homes scoring in the 81-100 highest-risk range.

At the CBSA (Core Based Statistical Area) level, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. ranks first for the most number of homes at “Very High” risk out of the 248 CBSAs analyzed. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. comes in a close second, followed by Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif., and Bend-Redmond, Oregon.

When ranking CBSAs based on Wildfire Risk Score, Riverside-San-Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. takes the top spot for the most number of homes that fall under the highest risk segment of 81-100, followed by Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif. and Austin-Round Rock, Texas.

To enhance accuracy, this CoreLogic wildfire analysis has been expanded from prior annual analyses to encompass additional categories of single-family residential structures including mobile homes, duplexes, manufactured homes and cabins, among other non-traditional home types.

The values represent estimates of reconstruction costs, taking into account labor and materials, and are based on 100-percent or total destruction of the residential structure. Depending upon the size of the wildfire, there may be less than 100-percent damage to the residence, which would result in a lower realized reconstruction cost.

Meanwhile, to help communities prepare for and reduce their risk of wildfire damage, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), with generous funding and support provided by State Farm®, has launched the Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign aimed at residents and fire departments in an effort to keep wildfire safety top of mind for people living in the nation’s highest risk areas. The year-long campaign highlights and provides actionable, engaging information and specific activities and projects under three major themes: Plan, Act, and Embrace.

“The time to act is now as wildfires continue to threaten communities across the United States,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division. “Nearly 45 million homes in more than 72,000 U.S. communities are threatened by brush, grass and forest fires. NFPA and its partners and stakeholders have the resources to help people take action. We encourage everyone to learn what they can do to live less dangerously, starting with national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 2.”

From February to April, the focus of the campaign will be on “Plan,” which will promote resources to help residents plan for projects to take place on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Additional resources will highlight how to conduct community wildfire risk evaluations, prepare an application for Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition for a neighborhood, create a home inventory for insurance purposes, and more.

From May to August, the theme of “Act” will kick off with Wildfire Community Preparedness Day as the focus. Participants are encouraged to act on this day or in other planned Firewise events throughout the season, to practice their evacuation plans, and to apply for Firewise recognition. This phase of the campaign will place special emphasis on helping firefighters be safer in fighting wildland fires.

From September to December, the theme is “Embrace.” Residents and fire departments can share their success stories and lessons, and demonstrate how they have taken special safety steps throughout the year to reduce the risk of wildfire damage in their communities. Success stories will be highlighted at NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond® Wildland Fire Education Conference in October in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

State Farm has a long history of providing proactive wildfire safety education to its policyholders in high-risk regions, including the use of NFPA’sFirewise Communities Program materials and concepts. This is the second year that State Farm has generously provided funding and support to NFPA for its Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, in addition to supporting the 2015 Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign. View highlights from the 2014 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.

For more information about the Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire campaign and ideas about how to participate in each phase, please visit:

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