Wildfire season is off to a destructive start in hotspots like New Mexico and California, but the risk is becoming more widespread as climate change lays a path for more extreme weather events across the globe. Of all wildfires tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 1980, 66% of total damage has occurred in just the last five years, CNBC reports, but burgeoning tech companies and nonprofits are finding quick solutions.
Brooklyn-based nonprofit First Street Foundation protects and fortifies existing homes by using satellite imagery to assign wildfire risk scores based on property features like landscaping, location, and construction type. Homeowners can plug their risk assessments into First Street’s website to find information on how to best protect their homes.
“We calculate every individual property and structure’s risk across the country, be it a commercial building, or be it an individual’s home,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation. “What you’re able to see from that is that one home might have the same probability as another of being in a wildfire, but be much more susceptible to burning down.”
Certain homes may be more vulnerable because of their building materials, the defensible space around them or the roof type, for example. The company models the immediate risk to Americans’ homes and then adjusts for projected climate change.
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