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New data shows how many homes and properties could be at risk in Arizona this wildfire season

Arizona wildfire season gets dampening relief from monsoon
Posted at 4:30 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 16:34:43-04

PHOENIX — Some short-lived support came from Mother Nature this week in Arizona as crews continue to battle the Flag Fire near Kingman.

Rain and snow helped improve the intensity of the blaze, according to fire officials. However, the state is drying out and warming up as our first triple digits of the year approach this week.

As evacuation orders remain in place, we're looking in-depth to see just how many properties and homes Arizona could lose this year to wildfires.

New research from QuoteWizard by Lending Tree looked at three areas: FEMA wildfire disaster declarations, property risk evaluations, and drought data.

Arizona ranked #10 on their list, with nearly 735,000 properties at an extreme risk of wildfire damage.

State% of state properties at extreme wildfire risk % of state experiencing severe drought in 2021 FEMA wildfire disaster declarations since 2000
Montana28.50% 18.70% 126
Idaho26.20% 5.50% 34
New Mexico14.60%99.40%53

*Information provided by QuoteWizard

The percentage of Arizona experiencing a severe drought is one of the highest in the United States at nearly 95 percent.

Verisk data from 2020 shows where homes are most at risk in our state.

The top five counties their data shows Arizona should be watching, based off the number of housing units, include Maricopa, Pima, Yavapai, Gila, and Coconino.

ABC15 spoke with Chris Jones, with the University of Arizona Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs in Globe about which areas are of most concern.

He responded, "It's everywhere... it's what they call, 'the new normal,' right?"

Jones said he worked with colleagues at the University of Nevada to draw up the Ember Awareness Checklist. He believes everyone, no matter where a resident is in Arizona, should start marking off tasks as soon as possible.

"It's all based on post-mortem research," Jones explained. "So, if there was a wildfire, they saw... where did that house ignite."

Jones said, it covers everything from the roof, to below the deck, and out to the fence line.

Embers can travel up to a mile and find themselves in roof openings or spread through leaves left piling up.

View the checklist here.