Colorado’s homes are at a high risk for wildfire damage — more than any other Western state, according to Texas-based startup LawnStarter.
The company’s analysis found that 50,009 homes are at high risk for damage in a wildfire, while another 49,667 are at risk of very high damage — totaling more than 5 percent of the state’s 1.9 million households.
The company studied 13 Western states and the finally report includes the expertise of people such as Jeff Berino, a wildfire consultant for Littleton-based AEI Corp. who said there will likely be severe wildfires in the coming decade. They also spoke with wildfire expert John Daily, director of the Center for Combustion and Environmental Research at the University of Colroado at Boulder, who said the majority of Coloradans living in the Front Ranger are in wildfire prone areas.
“Climate projections suggest Colorado is at the border between drier and wetter weather,” he said in the analysis, which is posted on lawnstarter.com. “This would suggest that wildfire frequency and intensity would remain about the same, on average. Bigger and more frequent fires occur in dry years, fewer in wet ones. This has been a wet year, and we haven’t seen any big fires yet.”
He said that the poor health of the state’s forests, which is attributed to prolonged drought and insect infestations, will only add to the risk presented by continued climate change.
Colorado Springs experienced two years of wildfires — the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire and the 2103 Black Forest fire. Currently, five different wildfires are burning in California, with thousands of homes burned or at risk in the wildfires.