Metro areas in the West are growing. So is their wildfire risk.

By Avery Ellfeldt | 05/08/2024 06:24 AM EDT

A study shows growth in the number and value of at-risk homes. In Los Angeles, replacing the homes would cost $143 billion, up from $71 billion five years ago.

John Peer looks through the rubble of his home after the Marshall Fire outside Denver in 2021.

John Peer finds a couple of plates as he looks through the rubble of his fire-damaged home after the Marshall Fire outside Denver in 2021. Jack Dempsey/AP

The most wildfire-prone metro areas in the U.S. are experiencing a development boom that has placed hundreds of thousands of new homes at risk over the past five years .

A new analysis by CoreLogic real estate analytics firm highlights the 15 most vulnerable metro areas and found that many are undergoing rapid growth that is increasing the potential damage from wildfire.

In Los Angeles, which CoreLogic has consistently ranked as the most wildfire-prone metro area, a building boom increased the number of at-risk homes to 186,700 this year from 121,500 in 2019. The cost of replacing the at-risk homes has more than doubled, to $143 billion from $71 billion.


“We’re not going to stop growth, we’re not going to stop the expansion of development into these areas that are high risk,” said Tom Jeffery, a principal of science and analytics at CoreLogic, which released the Top 15 list last week.