Skip to content
Make Your Home Wildfire Ready and Insurable with FortressFire Inspections

Schedule a ground inspection to help protect your home from wildfire, facilitate insurance purchase, and align with wildfire regulations.

Wildfire
Disclosure
Report

Order your report

Empowering Real Estate Professionals with Wildfire Risk Insights

Welcome to the Wildfire Risk Disclosure Program, brought to you by FortressFire, in collaboration with the California Association of REALTORS®. As wildfires continue to pose an increasing threat to California homes and communities, understanding and managing wildfire risk have become vital elements in real estate transactions.

Our program is designed to equip real estate professionals with cutting-edge tools and comprehensive reports to help your clients make informed decisions when buying or selling properties in wildfire-prone areas. Our Wildfire Disclosure Report (WFDR), based on satellite imagery, AI, and advanced physics models, offers property-specific insights to your clients, enabling them to assess vulnerabilities, understand state compliance and insurance industry standards, and consider essential mitigation and protection services.

No Surprises

Gain an edge in the competitive real estate market by offering your clients a comprehensive WFDR. This data-driven report provides an objective assessment of a property’s vulnerability, allowing buyers and sellers to proceed with confidence.

Mitigation
Services

Arm your clients with customized mitigation recommendations and cost estimates, assisting them in safeguarding their investment and enhancing property value. You can explore services that minimize risks and improve insurability.

Streamlined
Transactions

By obtaining the WFDR early in the process, you can accelerate the transaction cycle with more effective pricing and reduce uncertainties in real estate deals. Comply with California’s wildfire risk disclosure laws and ensure smooth, on-time closings.

Objective, Data-Driven Assessment 

The Power of the Wildfire Disclosure Report (WFDR)

At the heart of our program lies the Wildfire Disclosure Report (WFDR), a groundbreaking tool that offers real estate professionals and their clients an unprecedented level of wildfire risk insights. Powered by advanced technology, data analytics, and fire science, the WFDR provides a comprehensive understanding of a property’s vulnerability, removing subjectivity and guesswork.

shape

Precise Evaluations for Informed Decisions

The Wildfire Disclosure Report Includes:

Fuel Load Analysis: Assessing the property’s vegetation density to understand fire fuel potential.

Topographical Insights: Understanding how the terrain may influence fire behavior and spread.

Proximity to Fire-Prone Areas: Identifying potential risks based on the property’s location.

Alignment with State Regulations: Documents the status for AB 38 inspections and insurability standards.

Mitigation Recommendations: Offering personalized strategies to mitigate vulnerabilities and enhance insurability.

See Sample Report

Armed with this comprehensive data-driven report, real estate professionals and homeowners can make well-informed decisions regarding property transactions, compliance with regulations, and securing insurance coverage.

Learn More

Supporting Home Buyers and Sellers

Partnering for Property Protection

As real estate professionals, you play a crucial role in guiding your clients towards sound investment decisions. With the power of the Wildfire Disclosure Report and FortressFire Inspections, you can now provide them with a competitive advantage. Equip your clients with objective wildfire risk data and customized mitigation strategies. 

Each WFDR and Inspection report comes with personalized recommendations tailored to the property’s unique characteristics. These strategies enable homeowners to take proactive measures to reduce the risk of damage and loss, enhancing their peace of mind and property value.

Together, let’s embrace the future of property protection and create safer communities. Order your WFDR or Inspection today and lead the way in wildfire risk management.

For Buyer Agents

Be informed. Understand the effort and cost to make a property AB 38 compliant and insurable.

For Seller Agents

No wildfire surprises. Better market and price your property. Consider proactive remediations.

Wildfire Disclosure Report Frequently Asked Questions

As wildfires continue to pose increasing threats to California homes and communities, we are committed to equipping real estate professionals and their clients with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions.

This FAQ page aims to provide you with comprehensive answers to common queries about our groundbreaking Wildfire Disclosure Report (WFDR) and the value it brings to your real estate transactions. From objective assessments to personalized mitigation recommendations, we are here to support you at every step of the journey.

Thank you for choosing the WFDR to enhance your understanding of wildfire risk and improve the resilience of California’s homes and communities.

The California drought exacerbated the wildfire conditions and led to the passing of AB 38 and PRC 4192, commonly referred to as the Defensible Space Laws. When selling a property located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone, on or after July 1, 2021, the seller (and homeowner following a home purchase) is required to have documentation of a compliant defensible space inspection.

  • Availability of Fire Insurance to properties in high fire hazard zones is not guaranteed by a closed real estate transaction. The increasing occurrence of wildfires has raised both the premium and the fire insurance eligibility bar for properties in many parts of California.
  • Buyers should conduct their own due diligence to understand the insurability of the properties they submit offers to. Insurance is required to be in place for mortgages, and increasingly, that capacity is receding due to growing losses and regulatory requirements.
  • Compliance with AB 38 does not necessarily impact insurability in wildfire risk zones. For properties requiring more than $3M in insurance coverage, the California FAIR Plan will not provide adequate coverage to meet mortgage requirements.

Even if a buyer succeeds closing a real estate transaction without purchasing fire insurance, the buyer would be exposed to all the losses and costs due to wildfire.

WFDR was developed by FortressFire to assess the wildfire risk characteristics of a property, in line with the intended objectives of AB 38.

  • WFDR is a tool for real estate professionals and their seller and buyer clients.
  • WFDR is not based on a generalized hazard model, but rather a property’s specific physical structure and its surroundings.
  • A PDF version of the WFDR is emailed to the report purchaser within 48 hours of report ordering. Payments can be made via escrow account (if transaction is under escrow) or credit card payment via an authorized distributor.

As California’s drought and wildfire situation continues to worsen, 50% of surveyed real estate professionals noted that their clients have had issues with wildfire risk. 80% of those affected agents added that their clients had difficulties with property insurance that covers damage due to wildfire. In 30% of the real estate transactions, Defensible Space (onsite) Inspection was requested by either buyers or sellers. The uncertainty about property insurance eligibility and home insurance premium has created friction to real estate transactions.

  • WFDR provides both sellers and buyers with an objective assessment of the property vulnerability to wildfire, and an estimated costs for retrofitting and mitigating wildfire risk to align the property with AB 38, CalFire, and homeowner’s insurance underwriting standards.
  • For a buyer, the information may be used to negotiate concessions to the property sale price. There is no fire insurance contingency in the California Residential Purchase Agreement. The buyer needs to conduct their investigation diligence. If there is a loan contingency, failure to obtain fire insurance and therefore secure a loan after the offer is accepted would not justify exercise of the loan contingency.
  • For a listing agent or seller, they may choose to include WFDR in the seller disclosure package or not, since WFDR is not a mandatory requirement. Inclusion of the WFDR report early on minimizes transaction complexity later.

FortressFire brings together a diverse group of scientists, technologists, insurance experts, service operations leaders, and fire management professionals dedicated to protecting homes and businesses from the devastation of wildfire.

FortressFire worked closely with the California of Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) who has continuously served its members and homeowners in California since 1905, to develop the WFDR. The report incorporates significant input from real estate professionals throughout the state. FortressFire also collaborates closely with CalFire, Insurance Institute of Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and California Department of Insurance (DOI). CalFire conducts inspections. IBHS sets the national standard for resilient construction. DOI sets the insurance standard.

Local, state, and federal authorities regularly plan for the prevention and control of wildfire. Which authority is responsible for a given area is defined by law, administrative analysis, and direct protection agreements between authorities.

Public Resources Code sections 4125-4128 define which lands are the direct responsibility of the state (SRA) and local responsibility (LRA). Federal agencies are responsible for any federal land (FRA). Direct Protection Agreements (DPAs) may mean that a different authority takes responsibility for an area. The SRA, LRA, and FRA maps are updated from time to time and new maps are due by the end of 2023.

Maps can be found at: https://osfm.fire.ca.gov/divisions/community-wildfire-preparedness-and-mitigation/wildfire-preparedness/fire-hazard-severity-zones/fire-hazard-severity-zones-map/

Public Resources Code sections 4202 directs the State Fire Marshal to classify lands in the SRA into fire hazard severity zones (FHSZ). These zones are classified as Moderate, High, or Very High. Government Code 51175 directs the State Fire Marshal to work with local authorities to define FHSZs for local areas that meet the criteria for Very High classification. Local authorities may impose additional requirements for wildfire prevention over and above the state recommended FHSZ.

Fire Hazard Severity Zones are determined by models based on historical data and fire science. These models have two key components: the probability of burning and the expected fire behavior under extreme fuel and weather conditions.

Local, state, and federal authorities regularly plan for the prevention and control of wildfire. Which authority is responsible for a given area is defined by law, administrative analysis, and direct protection agreements between authorities.

Public Resources Code sections 4125-4128 define which lands are the direct responsibility of the state (SRA) and local responsibility (LRA). Federal agencies are responsible for any federal land (FRA). Direct Protection Agreements (DPAs) may mean that a different authority takes responsibility for an area. The SRA, LRA, and FRA maps are updated from time to time and new maps are due by the end of 2023.

Maps can be found at: https://osfm.fire.ca.gov/divisions/community-wildfire-preparedness-and-mitigation/wildfire-preparedness/fire-hazard-severity-zones/fire-hazard-severity-zones-map/

Public Resources Code sections 4202 directs the State Fire Marshal to classify lands in the SRA into fire hazard severity zones (FHSZ). These zones are classified as Moderate, High, or Very High. Government Code 51175 directs the State Fire Marshal to work with local authorities to define FHSZs for local areas that meet the criteria for Very High classification. Local authorities may impose additional requirements for wildfire prevention over and above the state recommended FHSZ.

Fire Hazard Severity Zones are determined by models based on historical data and fire science. These models have two key components: the probability of burning and the expected fire behavior under extreme fuel and weather conditions.

Flame length and burn probability increase roughly 40 – 60% between CalFire’s Fire Hazard Severity Zone classes. More intense fires create more intense heat and more embers. Heat can cause windows to break and flammable siding to burn. Embers can penetrate vents and ignite structures from within. Much like the State Fire Marshal creates FHSZs, insurance companies create catastrophe models (CAT models) that similarly model the probability that wildfire will impact an area, along with the severity of the fire should it arrive. Structures in areas with high probabilities of intense wildfire may be considered risky to insure. The probability of wildfire is only part of the decision whether to insure a property. The vulnerability of the structure to damage or destruction is also considered. Structures in wildfire zones and considered vulnerable to wildfire are often considered too risky to insure.

Years of research have gone into understanding how wildfire affects structures. Various researchers, local, state, and federal agencies and insurers have proposed “best practices” to safeguard properties in the face of wildfire. California Defensible Space requirements are just one such set of best practices. The defensible space requirements are nuanced, recognizing the landscaping contributes to the value and comfort of a home, and that every home is different. This flexibility, however, comes at a price: Defensible space rules require experience with wildfire / structure interactions and different types of fuels. As a result, California requires inspections to certify that homes comply with defensible space requirements.

IBHS has come up with similar guidelines for use by insurance companies to evaluate the vulnerability of homes and businesses in wildfire zones. These guidelines err on the side of safety and simplicity. As such, they are stricter than the defensible space requirements. Thus, it is possible that your home could comply with defensible space requirements but still not meet an insurer’s criteria for coverage.

Companies such as FortressFire use more sophisticated physics-based models to determine which fuels on a property will cause structural failure in the event of wildfire and offer recommendations for mitigations – which may include trimming or removal of fuels or upgrading of vents, windows, or siding materials. These recommendations align to IBHS standards. FortressFire’s WFDR details structural vulnerabilities, fuel contributions, and mitigation recommendations – with their associated cost estimates. While these recommendations do not guarantee insurance coverage, they greatly increase a home’s survivability in a wildfire.

More on California Defensible Space requirements can be found at: https://www.fire.ca.gov/dspace

More on IBHS wildfire guidelines can be found at: https://wildfireprepared.org

Like a home inspection report, the WFDR analysis is valid for a few months.  The vulnerability of a property to wildfire evolves over time due to changes in structure materials, modifications, addition/removal of adjacent structures, and vegetation types and density.

Get in Touch

Contact us to learn more about our platform, programs, and services. 

Name(Required)