Climate Change Risks to Real Estate: Heat, Drought, Fire

People in Los Angeles, CA are especially likely to experience increased risks from drought, flooding, and fire due to climate change. Check your address for local heat, storm, fire, drought, and flood risk through 2050.

Climate Risks for Properties in California

Compared to others in the U.S., people in California will experience especially pronounced risks from heat, drought, and fire due to climate change over the next 30 years.

The ClimateCheck Risk Rating is a 1-100 score that measures historical risk and increased exposure to risk with climate change, compared to everywhere in the U.S. (lower 48 states). A rating of 100 means risk is the highest for the U.S., while 1 means the risk is the lowest of anywhere in the U.S. Even though your location may have relatively low risk ratings, climate change has both direct and indirect effects that impact everyone on Earth. See how we measure risk.

For fire, the bar estimates the middle 50% of buildings and middle 50% of land area. For heat, drought, and storm, the bars represent the middle 50% of the population.

Climate Risks for Cities in California

Of the largest cities in California, the city with the highest overall risk is Los Angeles. The city with the lowest overall risk is Bakersfield.

  • For heat, San Francisco has the lowest risk and Fresno has the highest risk.
  • For storm, Bakersfield has the lowest risk and San Francisco has the highest risk.
  • For drought, Sacramento has the lowest risk and San Diego has the highest risk.
  • For fire, Bakersfield has the lowest risk and San Jose has the highest risk.
  • For flood, Bakersfield has the lowest risk and Sacramento has the highest risk.

Comparing California and Other States

Among the lower 48 states, California's highest ranking is #11 for fire risk.

Utah and Kansas rank highest for fire risk District Of Columbia and Rhode Island rank lowest for fire risk See our fire ranking methodology.

California ranks #10 for drought risk.
Highest drought risk: Arizona and Wyoming
Lowest drought risk: Mississippi and Illinois

California ranks #32 for heat risk.
Highest heat risk: Florida and Louisiana
Lowest heat risk: Washington and North Dakota

California ranks #42 for storm risk.
Highest storm risk: New Hampshire and Vermont. Lowest storm risk: Nevada and New Mexico

Heat Risk in California with Climate Change

An extremely hot day in California depends on your location: 105ºF is extremely hot for Bakersfield, while 80ºF is considered extremely hot for San Francisco. This is based on historical maximum temperatures on the top 2% of days in an average year.

The frequency of very hot days is increasing. On average, someone in California will experience about 37 extremely hot days in 2050.

A typical person in the U.S. will experience about 43 extremely hot days in 2050.

California Drought Risk Map with Climate Change

Drought risk is based on water stress, which is a projection of how much of the water supply will be taken up by human demand.

In the drought risk map, the blue bars represent the available water every 10 years from 2020-2060, and the orange bars represent demand. The drought risk rating is based on the ratio of supply to demand and the projected change in this ratio. Lower supply and higher demand correspond to a higher score.

California Fire Risk Map with Climate Change

Locally, fire risk depends on proximity to vegetation, the types of vegetation and other landcover in the area, and topography. On a given day, fire risk is greatly increased in the presence of a red flag warning, when heat, low humidity, and strong winds converge.

How can we prevent and adapt to climate change?

Mitigating climate change—by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment—and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks

Check your address and get a free report describing risks to your property and in your area.

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Protect Homes and Communities

Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions for increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA's Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool Pavements can also help urban heat islands. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communies: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives (federal to local), how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance

Reducing emissions is necessary–and possible–across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with Project Drawdown's introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your home's carbon footprint with the CoolClimate Calculator. Or, estimate the carbon footprint of your business.