Blog 3: Wildfires – Burning Your Investment


Have you been hearing more about wildfires in the past few years? Discussions have been heating up nationwide, so we bet you have. According to the National Interagency Fire Center and a report by the Congressional Research Service, the number of U.S. wildfires increased from ~50,000 to ~58,000 from 2019 to 2020. Despite the increase in ~8000 wildfires, acreage burned increased from a warm 4.66 Million acres to a scorching 10.27 Million over the course of the same two years.

National Public Radio cited researchers that identified the total forested area that burned in the U.S. from 1984 to 2015 is nearly double what it would have been had the climate not gotten warmer. Within the same article, the author’s indicate that most wildfire-prone states have no requirements on disclosing wildfire likelihood to prospective homebuyers – only California and Oregon require this information be presented prior to closing on a home.

Given many states do not require realtors to disclose wildfire likelihood, make sure you do your own research. You may not think your state will experience wildfires, however, climate change is causing flames to engulf locations (see the heat map to the right – USDA and USFS) once thought to be safe…

Well, Smokey the Bear was right – only you can prevent wildfires. But, Smokey forgot to let us know that prospective and current homeowners have resources to identify if they are at risk of wildfires. RealChange uses high-resolution data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service to project current risk of wildfires for your home. Know your risk!

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