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Oregon ranks high in rising rate of natural disasters

Ranks 12th in nation with a 280% increase over the last four decades

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new report says natural disasters are becoming more common across the nation. Oregon is among the states most prone to the problem -- and as you might expect, wildfires are a large reason why.

QuoteWizard, an online insurance marketplace, said this week Oregon has seen a 280 % increase in natural disaster events over the last four decades, the 12th-highest rate of increase in the nation.

From 1980 to 1999, Oregon had 10 total natural disasters. Then from 2000 to 2017, there were 38 natural disasters.

According to the report, the states with the largest increase are in the western United States. Wildfires are the most common natural disaster for 13 of the top 15 states on the list, including Oregon.

"There's a handful of reasons for the increase in frequency of wildfires,” said Adam Johnson, a QuoteWizard research analyst. “Climate does have a lot to do with this. The climate change, these warmer temperatures lead to warmer, dryer, longer summers. It's in those long, dry summers that we tend to see more frequent wildfires in western states."

Officials said natural disasters were the leading cause of property damage in the U.S., costing people $485 billion.

"That's ultimately going to have an impact on what they pay for insurance,” Johnson said. “So insurance companies, as well as us, are looking at this type of data to evaluate risks in certain states and in certain areas that might be prone to natural disasters."

Johnson said the number of natural disasters is increasing quickly. From 1980 to 1999, there were 751 in the U.S. Since then, there have been 1,997, a 165 % increase.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.


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