Skip to main content

Reduce Your Wildfire Risk

In the past, wildfires were most likely to happen between May and October. Now, fires can occur any time of the year and are burning more intensely amid extreme conditions. What the U.S. Forest Service once characterized as a four-month-long fire season now lasts six to eight months of the year, with fires even in winter months becoming part of the norm.

Most wildfires occur in Western states where heat, drought and frequent thunderstorms create ideal conditions for outbreaks. According to Verisk’s Wildfire Risk Analysis,1 4.5 million U.S. homes are identified at high or extreme risk for wildfires, with more than 2 million in California alone.

But fire isn’t just a problem out west. The warming planet raises the risk of major fire damage in other areas of the country, as well.1

States most at risk for wildfires: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Number of properties at high to extreme risk from wildfire

State/Province Number of Properties*
California 2,040,600
Texas 717,800
Colorado 373,900
Arizona 242,200
Idaho 175,000
Washington 155,500
Oklahoma 153,400
Oregon 147,500
Montana 137,800
Utah 136,000
New Mexico 131,600
Nevada 67,100
Wyoming 36,800

Prevent wildfire damage in and around your home

A single spark from a cigarette, campfire or downed power line can ignite a blaze that could last for weeks. And most structures that burn in a wildfire are ignited by embers carried downwind ahead of the fire. Take these steps to help keep yourself, your family and your property safe.

Make your home wildfire-ready

  • Wrap your home with fire-resistant shingles and siding if possible. 
  • Cover attic vents with 1/8-inch metal screens. 
  • Regularly clean debris from gutters and downspouts. Leaves, twigs and litter act as fuel for fires caused by wind-borne embers. 
  • Create defensible zones around your house. 
  • Plant fire-resistant landscaping. 

Download the free IBHS Wildfire Ready Virtual app for a quick and easy way to check if you're wildfire-ready.

Plan ahead

  • Stock enough emergency supplies for 72 hours. Learn more
  • Download the Emergency App for iPhone (Start here) or Android (Start here).
  • Know your insurance coverage and where to find your policies. Start here
  • Take photos or video of each room to document your belongings.
  • Store contact info for emergency services, family members, friends, neighbors and your insurance company in your phone.
  • Know your community’s warning system and the emergency shelter locations.
  • Plan and practice two escape routes and specify a meeting place.
  • Develop a family communication plan and share it with others.

If a wildfire is coming

  • Report it by calling 911.
  • Ensure gutters are clear of debris.
  • Close windows in your house and car to keep out burning embers.
  • Fill pools, hot tubs, garbage cans or other large containers with water.
  • Connect garden hoses for firefighters to use to put out fires on rooftops.
  • Bring outdoor furniture, wooden containers and any other combustibles inside.
  • Keep your cellphone and other electronic devices adequately charged, and have a backup battery.
  • Protect all important documents in a fireproof safe.
  • Park your car facing your escape route and evacuate immediately if told to do so.
  • If you must evacuate, unplug appliances and turn off utilities, including natural gas or propane. Take your emergency supplies and important documents; let loved ones know where you plan to go.

After a wildfire

  • Let family members know you’re safe.
  • Be prepared for potential flooding, since the ground might be charred and lack vegetation.
  • Return home only when authorities say it’s safe.
  • Be careful when entering burned areas, since fires may flare up without warning.
  • Maintain a fire watch for several hours after the first has passed; look for signs of smoke or embers throughout your property.
  • Report serious structural damage, downed power lines and gas leaks to local officials.
  • Contact us as soon as possible to report damage and file a claim. Start here
  • Restock your emergency supplies.
  • When rebuilding or repairing damage, invest in fire-resistant building materials to avoid repeat problems.