LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County is the riskiest county in the country according to a new risk index – and Riverside and San Bernardino counties are not far behind.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Risk Index looked at 18 kinds of natural disasters, such as coastal flooding, drought, landslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, strong winds, volcanic activity and heat and cold waves. The ranking also takes into account economic damage and the community’s ability to recover from a disaster.
With Southern California’s abundance of earthquakes, wildfires and heat waves, the entire region’s risk was deemed very high, but Los Angeles County ranked No. 1 in the country for risk. Riverside County was ranked No. 7, and San Bernardino County followed right behind at No. 9.
From just wildfires in 2020 alone, CalFire says the state battled 9,639 blazes that burned more than 4 million acres. One of the largest wildfires that broke out in 2020 erupted at the beginning of December, burning 6,686 acres in neighboring Orange County – which was not in the top 10 riskiest counties in the country.
FEMA developed the index to help communities enhance hazard mitigation plans, develop better codes and standards, prioritize and allocate resources, educate new homeowners and renters, and inform the insurance and mortgage industries.