Wednesday, September 28, 2016

As Wildfire Risk Grows in the West, So Does Home Building

Along a scrubby mountain range on the northern rim of Los Angeles, a developer is planning to build a 188-unit luxury community in one of the state’s highest-risk wildfire zones. In the hills of San Diego County, 150 miles to the south, builders are planning a project featuring more than 1,800 homes, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and a hotel on land scorched during one of the most destructive wildfire seasons in California’s history, in 2003. As wildfire seasons in the Western U.S. have grown longer and deadlier over the last three decades, the pace of development has accelerated in areas most at risk. In the 13 Western states where 70% of the nation’s wildfire activity occurs, the number of homes located in or near wilderness areas has grown by nearly 25% since 1990, to more than 14.3 million, according to an analysis by researchers at the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin. The overall number of housing units in those 13 states expanded by 37% over the same period, though in fast-growing states such as Colorado, the housing expansion in wilderness-adjacent areas outpaced growth in the rest of the state. More than 897,000 homes worth some $237 billion in those states are considered to be at high or very high risk of wildfire damage, according to data company CoreLogic, with more than a third of those houses located in California...more

No comments: