99 Percent of Palisades Properties at Risk for Wildfire Damage

First Street Foundation’s Risk Factor report sheds light on risk Palisades residents face

By Dolores Quintana

in 2021, 3,629 structures were destroyed by 8,835 wildfires in California. As reported by Patch.com, the state is anticipating another serious fire season as the summer is expected to be a dry one and is readying itself to fight fires and defend houses, business and natural resources from those potential fires. 

About 80 million properties in the United States are at risk for damages during wildfires per a new report and model from First Street Foundation, a non-profit organization. Roughly 16% of the United States population lives in areas that are subject to wildfires, according to a Washington Post analysis of the First Street Foundation report’s data. 

The state of California is one of the states with the greatest risk of wildfires. The Pacific Palisades was rated as an area with 9,234 properties that were at risk for wildfire damage in the next 30 years. This total represents 99% of the properties that exist in the Palisades area according to the data from the First Street Foundation’s Risk Factor report.  

The extreme droughts and the attendant rising temperatures related to climate change causes wildfire seasons to become more destructive and dangerous as well as lasting longer. In 2022, there have already been 1,734 wildfires that have done damage to 7,464 acres of land, according to Cal Fire. 

Most of the precipitation in California falls during the early parts of the year, but the dry spell in January hasn’t given much life giving rain to the state. This means that the state already has moderate to extreme drought conditions happening even before the summer months. These conditions could combine with above normal temperatures throughout the spring which would contribute to much lower moisture levels than what is normally expected, which would leave the area vulnerable to wildfires, according to Cal Fire. 

The fire season has already begun in 2022 with a wildfire in Orange County that destroyed 20 homes and hundreds of acres of land in the last week. It is the opinion of the experts that fire season will never really end and is now a year round phenomenon. 

Bill Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and head of The West on Fire research project said, as quoted by USC News, “Summer in California no longer means the beginning of fire season. Rather, it means we are about to enter the roughest six or so months of a fire season that never ends.”
Deverell added, as quoted by USC News, “Drought and the increasing effects of climate change come together in creating the likelihood — even the certainty — of bigger, hotter and more catastrophic fires year to year.”
The lack of precipitation in the last few months will likely lead to a highly dangerous fire season as predicted by AccuWeather meteorologists. 
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel said, as quoted by Patch.com, “Unfortunately, in a nutshell, it looks like it’s going to be another busy season. We’re seeing a lot of drought. Almost half of the country is experiencing drought and the bulk of that is to the West. Samuhuel added that AccuWeather forecasters “are expecting an above-average fire season.” as quoted by Patch.com.
Samuhel’s estimate is that the 2022 season will burn 9.5 million acres of land across the western U.S.  This would represent 130% of the five-year average and 140% of the 10-year average.

in Fire, News
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