1 in 10 California Homes Sits in a High-Risk Fire Zone: Report

A chilling new report shows just how many Californians are at risk when it comes to wildfires.

According to analysis by the Los Angeles Times, 1 in 10 homes in California are situated in a high-risk fire zone. Trouble zones in the Bay Area include the foothills of Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County.

Mount Diablo State Park near Danville is indeed the sort of spot that raises concerns, with rolling hills filled with dried vegetation and trees and homes wedged in the middle.

Cal Fire says it’s not surprised by the report but it should open some eyes.

Amanda Quattro, a San Ramon Valley High School senior who grew up in the area, is accustomed to the scares.

"So I live on the other side of the valley, in the Las Trampas Hills," she said. "Some time earlier last year, there were fires that burned my neighbors’ back deck and got within three feet of mine. So yeah, basically charred the whole grass area space … behind my house."

A torrent of devastating wildfires in recent years has prompted a closer look at high-risk homes. The LA Times analyzed updated maps drawn by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and found 1 in 10 homes sits in a high-risk pocket.

It’s more concentrated in Southern California but far more pervasive in our neck of the woods.

"I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, and most of those homes that you’re speaking of are in very high or high fire severity zones," said Mike Marcucci, Cal Fire's assistant chief. "We’ve known that for years."

Marcucci says more homes have likely been added to the list as developments expand into wildland areas. His best advice is to know your situation and clear vegetation.

"We’re seeing the ember cast that is coming off of a fire, maybe even a mile away, that are landing in their yard," Marcucci said. "If you have junipers up against your home, you’ve gotta get rid of that. You’ve gotta make your home a fortress against fire."

Despite the need for heightened protection, many in this East Bay community say they have no regrets.

"Well, certainly I’d be more aware of the possibilities," said Steve Luchetti, a Danville resident for 30 years. "But this is a wonderful area to live in."

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