According to a recent MReport, wildfires are not deterring Americans from moving to high-risk regions. The report discusses data from a recent ClimateCheck study on wildfires in the western states. The historic wildfire season left thousands of homes ruined and burned millions of acres. The study predicted that there will be increased levels of wildfire destruction in the coming years. ClimateCheck believes that roughly 9.3 million acres across the nation will be burned annually by 2050. The study revealed twenty areas that are at the highest risk of fire. Out of these areas, over half have growing populations. In addition, six of these areas are in the top 15% of the nation’s fastest growing counties. The report includes the potential danger that awaits Placer County, which is northwest of Sacramento. The typical home in that county has a wildfire risk of 98 out of 100. The region is forecasted to burn 28,498 acres a year by 2050. Despite this risk, Placer County’s population has grown 7% in recent years. Additionally, ClimateCheck stated that there are three counties in Utah’s Salt Lake area that also have very high wildfire risks. Homes in Weber, Morgan, and Salt Lake county have a risk of 97, 95, and 88. These counties are projected to burn over 55,000 acres by 2050. Similar to Placer County, all three of these areas have seen population increases in recent years. Weber County population has increased by 6%, Morgan County by 17%, and Salt Lake County by 7%.
WHY ARE PEOPLE MOVING TO HIGH RISK REGIONS?
According to an economic advisor at ClimateCheck, Skylar Olsen, there are several factors that draw people to these high risk regions. Skylar stated, “Whether pushed to the periphery by affordability concerns or pulled there by the value of space, a more natural world, and a slower pace, many are attracted to more rural areas for affordable options outside of large- or medium-sized cities with job availability”. Olsen also noted that building homes in these areas will put more properties and people at risk. Because climate change will continue to bring dangerous wildfire seasons, zoning measures and property and forest management are crucial.
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