Thousands of homes at high risk for wildfire damage

Over 18k of homes at high risk for wildfire damage

SPOKANE, Wash. - With all this wet weather, wildfires are probably the furthest thing from your mind, but a new study shows that more than 18,000 Spokane area homes are at a high risk of being damaged by wildfires.

"This is a beautiful area we live in," said Spokane Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer, "but there's an inherent risk [of wild fire], and as we sprawl out into the urban interface, there's even more of a risk."

A new report from real estate data firm CoreLogic says more than 18,000 homes in the Spokane region are at a high risk of wildfire damage.

It's a number not surprising to Assistant Fire Chief Schaeffer.

"It's what we've always felt as fire service leaders in the Spokane community," he said, "but it really does validate from an evidence based perspective the way we've felt."

According to CoreLogic, more than half the homes in Washington State at extreme or high risk are in the Spokane area.

"We're really unique," Schaeffer explained. "We have a state park inside of the City of Spokane's jurisdiction, and we have a lot of natural areas like Beacon Hill, like High Drive, that are very prone to wild land fire and very dangerous in terms of protecting those residences."

Schaeffer says this report will help policy makers and firefighters make decisions about wildfire preparedness in our region.

But he says, it's up to everyone in the community to do their part to protect against wildfire.

"As property owners, we need to be a part of the solution, we need to create Firewise communities," he said.

The report says Idaho has twice as many homes as Washington at extreme or high risk of damage, ranking it fifth in the nation.

Being a Firewise community means being knowledgeable and prepared for wildfires.

One of the biggest things we can do is create defensible space around our properties.

That includes avoiding shake roofs, removing dead branches hanging over your roof, and keeping woodpiles at least 30 feet away from structures.

For more information about Firewise, CLICK HERE.