wildfire risk map usa

An Online Tool for Fire Risk

Buying a home is a major investment, and buyers want to know exactly what they’re getting. That’s why pre-sale home inspections are common. If the house has a crack in the foundation, mold in the basement, an HVAC system on its last leg, or a leaky roof that needs replacing, this is crucial information for the person who is about to take on the cost and effort of fixing those things in addition to the cost of the house itself. It’s just about making wise financial decisions, which is especially important when there are hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line.

If you want to know whether the house you’re about to invest in is at risk for flooding, you can check the FEMA Flood Maps. This data has been readily available to the public for half a century. If your new home could be damaged or even washed away by floodwaters, that’s something you’d want to know about ahead of time. So why hasn’t a similar tool for wildfire risk existed all along, too? Whatever the reason, it’s a missing piece of information for prospective homeowners that has finally become available.

First Street Foundation, a nonprofit based in Brooklyn, New York, now offers wildfire-risk maps in addition to the flood-risk maps they’ve offered for years. This free tool for assessing the wildfire risk of your new or potential new home has data available for all of the lower 48 US states. It even offers information on how wildfire risk for certain areas will increase over time due to the effects of climate change.

It’s not expected that this information will completely dissuade many buyers from going through with the purchase of a home they have their eye on, just because it’s at some level of wildfire risk. The current housing market in the US is too competitive. However, it can help homebuyers make more informed decisions. They can factor in the costs of any home hardening measures that previous owners haven’t already taken, giving them a more accurate picture of the total financial investment they’ll need to make. Since many homebuyers wouldn’t even realize the fire risk of a property before buying it without this tool, it may very well save entire homes and possibly even lives. This way, new property owners can know to install fire-safe vents, create defensible space in their yards, clear out dead vegetation, and take other measures to protect their homes from wildfires that may come their way in the future.


Ember Defense | Wildfire Home Hardening

If you’re planning to purchase a home that you suspect may be in a wildfire-prone area, check First Street Foundation’s fire maps so you can know for sure. Then, contact Ember Defense for information and assistance on hardening your new home to protect it from wildfire damage. We can help with retrofitting vents, installing sprinkler systems, and everything in between. Give us a call at (415) 573-2400; we’d be happy to help you put a solid defense system in place to protect your family’s home for years to come.