From New Jersey to Georgia, US states thousands of kilometres from wildfire hotspots in the west face a growing risk from forest blazes as global warming makes “safe havens” increasingly rare, researchers have warned.
Wildfires pose at least a moderate risk to more than 30 million properties across the United States, according to modelling by First Street Foundation, a nonprofit that maps climate risks.
“Wildfire risk is increasing so much faster than even flood risk is across the US,” said Ed Kearns, the group’s chief data officer, on Monday. “And it’s likely to affect areas that aren’t thought of as wildfire-prone areas right now, but will be soon.”
Well beyond hard-hit states such as California and New Mexico, East Coast areas including South and North Carolina are among those with the most properties threatened by fires, research found.
It used a new model intended to give home and other property owners a detailed risk assessment of the climate-related threats facing their properties, including wildfires and floods.
“That ability for an individual to sit down and type in their address and see what their risk is makes a personal connection between climate change and this data set and their lives,” Kearns said.