Personal Finance

Use This New Tool to Check Any Home’s Wildfire Risk

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Vadim Axel /

Planning to buy a home? A new online tool can help you gauge the property’s risk of damage from a wildfire.

The First Street Foundation Wildfire Model is billed as the “only nationwide, probabilistic, climate adjusted, peer reviewed, property specific wildfire risk model for properties in the contiguous United States.”

In addition to revealing a home’s current wildfire risk, the tool forecasts the wildfire risk up to 30 years into the future.

To use the tool, enter an address, ZIP code, city or state at The risk of wildfire is ranked from 1 (minimal) to 10 (extreme).

As a bonus, you also will learn the area’s risk for flood damage.

The tool has been integrated into several real estate platforms, including:

  • Crexi
  • Redfin
  • Estately

First Street Foundation — a nonprofit research and technology group focused on risks related to climate change — says that in the U.S.:

  • Nearly 20 million properties have a “moderate” wildfire risk (meaning up to a 6% chance of experiencing a wildfire over the next 30 years).
  • 6 million have a “major” risk (up to a 14% chance).
  • Nearly 3 million have a “severe” risk (up to a 26% chance).
  • About 1.5 million have an “extreme” risk (greater than a 26% chance).

More than 49 million properties face less than a 1% chance of experiencing a wildfire over the next 30 years, which is considered a “minor” risk.

In a press release, Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation, says:

“The lack of a property specific, climate adjusted wildfire risk for individual properties has severely hindered everyone from the federal government to your average American. As a changing climate drives more frequent and severe wildfire events, Fire Factor will prove critical in ensuring everyone has the insights they need to understand their personal risk to avoid and protect against the devastating impact of a wildfire.”

For more tips on surviving the next wildfire or other natural disaster, check out:

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