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The changing climate is projected to make wildfire seasons longer and increase burn areas, putting the millions that live near wilderness at risk. Our analysis gauges each state’s wildfire threat according to the number of days with high wildfire potential and the number of people living in and around forests, grass and shrub lands, and other natural areas.

Key Findings

  • The growing threat from wildfires is concentrated in four states, Texas, California, Arizona, and Nevada, where more than 35 million people live in the high threat zone, known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI), where wildlands and development converge.

  • Texas has the most people at risk, by far, with 18 million people in the WUI. California is next with 11 million, followed by Florida with 5 million, and North Carolina and Georgia with just under 5 million.

  • Current preparedness for wildfires is very high, but readiness for future climate change driven wildfire threats is very low; 15 of the 24 states analyzed do not have a climate adaptation plan that includes wildfires.

Threat/Action Plot