California Drought Is Over, but Wildfire Risk Remains

FireLine State Risk Reports: 4.5 Million U.S. Homes at High or Extreme Risk of Wildfire in Western United States

JERSEY CITY, N.J., July 18, 2017 — Despite above-average precipitation and diminished drought conditions in California and other parts of the West, a Verisk Insurance Solutions wildfire risk analysis shows the risk of wildfire losses remains significant, with 4.5 million U.S. homes at high or extreme risk of wildfire. The data was published in Verisk’s 2017 FireLine™ State Risk Reports, which summarize wildfire risk in 13 wildfire-prone states. Verisk Insurance Solutions is a leading source of information about property/casualty insurance risk and a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

The FireLine State Risk Reports identified the number and percentage of homes at highest risk for wildfire. Additional key findings from the 2017 analysis include:

  • More than 2 million households in California are at high or extreme risk of wildfire, the highest in the U.S.
  • Texas ranks second with 715,300 homes at high or extreme risk of wildfire.
  • Montana (28%) and Idaho (26%) have the highest percentage of households at high or extreme risk of wildfire.
  • Seven states have 13 percent or more of households at high or extreme risk of wildfire.

“Wildfires have scorched nearly 3.5 million acres so far in 2017, according to the National Interagency Fire Center,” said Dr. Arindam Samanta, director of product management and innovation for Verisk Insurance Solutions. “For the first half of 2017, the number of acres burned by wildfires is up 34 percent over 2016 and the ten-year average.”

Verisk conducted the wildfire risk analysis using FireLine, its wildfire risk management tool. FireLine uses advanced remote sensing, machine learning, and digital mapping technology to determine the impact of three factors that contribute to wildfire risk: fuel, which refers to the vegetation surrounding the property; slope, or grade of the land; and site-access, identifying potential challenges to reach properties via roads or other pathways for fire suppression activities during wildfires.

“Wildfires have generated more than $5.1 billion in insured losses in the last decade—with $3 billion alone in just the past five years. These fires represent one of the leading catastrophe exposures facing the industry today,” said Dr. Samanta. “The ability to accurately identify the true wildfire exposure is critical to maintaining cost-based pricing. It also allows insurers that may have avoided the marketplace to explore expanding their book of business in these hazard areas.”

The FireLine State Risk Reports provide snapshot views of wildfire risk in each of the states covered and include:

  • wildfire risk at a glance
  • FireLine wildfire hazard map
  • percentage and number of housing units at high, medium, and low wildfire risk
  • top five counties by number of housing units and by highest concentration of high and extreme wildfire risk

The Verisk 2017 FireLine State Risk Reports can be accessed at

About Verisk Insurance Solutions
A Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, Verisk Insurance Solutions is a leading source of information about property/casualty insurance risk. Drawing upon unique data assets and deep domain expertise to provide innovative solutions that are integrated into customer workflows, Verisk Insurance Solutions includes the industry-leading brands of ISO, AIR Worldwide, and Xactware. Around the world, Verisk Insurance Solutions helps customers protect people, property, and financial assets. For more information, visit

Giuseppe Barone/Erin Bzymek
MWWPR (for Verisk Insurance Solutions)

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