With a rash of wildfires currently burning across the southwest and dozens of historical damaging blazes causing billions in damage over the last few years, a non-profit called First Street Foundation is partnering with realtor.com® to provide fire risk assessment for properties nationwide.
First Street Foundation, in a press release, said that the new Fire Factor ratings fill a gap in publicly available information about wildfire risk, which is not specific to properties and is not designed to inform individual homeowners.
“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,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation in a statement. “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.”
The model was built using publicly available data and complex modeling, all in collaboration with climate scientists. Examining everything from vegetation to roof type to local weather patterns, the rating also takes into account the projected changes in climate for that area, using 100 million simulated wildfire events, according to First Street Foundation.
Properties are rated on a scale of one to ten, with one representing a negligible risk of fire, and 10 a 14% risk of over 30 years.
About one out of every five single family homes in the United States are at risk of being damaged by a wildfire over the next 30 years, according to a Realtor.com study, and with the new initiative consumers will hopefully be better informed as they search for homes.
“As the likelihood of natural disasters like wildfire and flood increase, we want to provide as much information as possible for families to make informed decisions about where to live and how to protect their homes,” said Sara Brinton, lead product manager, realtor.com® in a statement.
Another recent survey from the company found that 71% of recent homebuyers took natural disasters into account when considering where to move.