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Wildfires Pose Risk To 740,000 Western U.S. Homes

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Wildfires Pose Risk To 740,000 Western U.S. Homes

Wildfires Pose Risk To 740,000 Western U.S. Homes

Photo by Mónica Ortiz Uribe

Smokes rises from the Whitewater-Baldy wildfire burning in the Gila Wilderness of southern New Mexico.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- In a report released this week, scientists found more than 740,000 homes in western states are at high risk for wildfire damage. In the last 20 years wildfire has been responsible for billions of dollars of property damage.

CoreLogic is a consumer analysis company based in California. Its scientists studied fuel, terrain and history to come up with a wildfire risk score.

California, Colorado and Texas contain the most properties categorized as very high risk. But scientist Thomas Jeffrey said all of the 13 western states faced danger.

"Even if you consider yourself urban and even if you have a well managed property with just grass and one tree that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for wildfire," Jeffrey said.

In that case it could be what’s just outside your property line. Jeffrey said in the last two decades more than half of new homes across the US were built in wildland urban interface.

The number of properties at risk for wildfire are 14,651 in Arizona; 282,495 in California; 5,011 in Nevada; 35,666 in New Mexico and 223,639 in Texas.

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.