Southern California could lose thousands of structures to wildfires this year, report estimates staff KABC logo
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
These 3 SoCal counties have highest wildfire risks, report says
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These 3 SoCal counties have highest wildfire risks, report says

Three Southern California counties have the nation's highest wildfire risks, according to a report released last week.

The First Street Foundation, a non-profit research and technology group, found that the annual expectation of structures destroyed by wildfires has grown from 3,000 structures in 2016 to 17,000 structures expected to be destroyed in 2023. That's roughly the size of Santa Cruz.

The report highlighted high-risk wildfire areas across the U.S., with these three counties topping the list:

  • Riverside County topped the list with expected annual losses of 1,600 structures worth about $1 billion.
  • Los Angeles County came in second with 1,400 structures worth about $1.6 billion.
  • San Bernardino County came in third with about 800 structures worth $768 million.

"Projecting that average loss into the future as climate change makes wildfire risk more prevalent, there are an estimated 25,000 properties a year that are expected to be destroyed in 2040 (about the size of Daytona Beach, FL)," the report said.

The report also found a growing number of Americans are finding it difficult to afford insurance on their homes. Wildfires have cost from about $1 billion a year through 2016 to more than $17 billion in 2021.

"This means that not only are wildfires occurring more frequently, costing more, and growing larger, but they are disproportionately happening in places where people and structures are directly in harm's way," the foundation wrote in a press release.

See the full report here.