Preparing the Northwest

brought to you by NW Insurance Council

Wildfire

Northwest Wildfire Facts

  • 2013 Figures:
    • Washington – 1,527 fires burned 152,603 acres of land.
    • Oregon – 2,848 fires burned 350,786 acres of land.
    • Idaho – 1,471 fires burned 722,204 acres of land.

29,300 wildfires charred 9.4 million acres of land in Washington, Oregon and Idaho between 2007 and 2013.

National Fire Facts

  1. In 2013, 47,579 fires charred 4.3 million acres of wild land.
  2. Wildfire catastrophic losses have averaged $215 million each year from 1964 to 2008.
  3. Homeowners insurance companies pay out on average of $6 billion each year for fire-related claims. (Insurance Information Institute)
  4. Historical wildfire statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center.

Key Facts

  1. Debris burning and recreation continue to be the leading human causes of wildfire in Northwest states.
  2. Lightning is the most common cause of wild land fires, reported to cause nearly 80 percent of remote wildland fires in the U.S.
  3. Hot, arid conditions increase the risks of wildfire.

Prevention

  • Develop an emergency preparedness plan before a wildfire strikes. 
  • Create a 72-hour family emergency survival kit.  The kit should include the following: first aid bag, rain gear, flashlights, candles, batteries, blankets, portable radio, basic tools, duct tape, copies of your insurance policies and other important documents, disposable camera.
  • If you live in a high-risk area, install protective shutters and fire-resistant drapes to protect possessions from radiant heat.
  • Create a defensible space between your home and tree line (30 to 100 feet).
  • Develop a Home Inventory of your personal belongings. Make a list of your of your possessions, even your clothes. Write down serial numbers, keep receipts, take pictures or video of what you own. Keep your Home Inventory off site.   NW Insurance Council offers free, downloadable Home Inventory Software from the Insurance Information Institute.
  • Consider installing a home sprinkler system.
  • Fireproof the rooftop by replacing wood shakes with less flammable material or treat the roof with a fire retardant.
  • Clear gutters of debris and trim away trees that overhang the roof.
  • Effectively landscape your property by removing old stumps, weak or diseased trees and installing fire-resistant plants.
  • Order a free copy of Firestorm – Northwest Wildfires: Protecting Yourself; call (800) 664-4942.

Homeowners Insurance – What’s Covered: (NW Insurance Council)

A basic homeowners policy covers:

  1. perils such as damage or loss caused by lightning, theft, fire, smoke, wind and explosion.
  2. the dwelling or residence and attached/built-in garage
  3. structures that are not attached to the house such as storage sheds, fences, barns.
  4. motor vehicles such as your lawn mower or motorized wheelchair.  Your automobile is covered under your auto policy.
  5. damage, theft or destruction to personal property such as television, stereos, furniture.  Some items are subject to special limits.
  6. additional living expenses in the event you have to move out of your home and live in a hotel or rental while your home is being repaired as a result of a covered loss
  7. basic liability insurance and medical payments to others if you are found to be legally responsible for damages or injuries to others, on or off your property.

What’s NOT Covered:  (NW Insurance Council)

A basic homeowners policy does not cover excluded perils such as:

  • earthquakes (except by a special endorsement)
  • floods (coverage is available through the National Flood Insurance Program)
  • pet damage
  • damage by birds, rodents and insects
  • pollution damage
  • water damage resulting from flood or sewer back-up, except sewer backup covered by a special endorsement
  • deliberate damage done to your own or someone else’s property
  • normal wear and tear
  • war

Wildfire Resource Links

NW Insurance Council
Prepare Now For Possible Wildfires
http://www.nwinsurance.org/sf_wild.htm

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Washington Wildland Fire Update
http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/rp_fire_currentfireinfodailyupdates.pdf

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Washington Fire Resources
http://www.dnr.wa.gov/RecreationEducation/FirePreventionAssistance/Pages/Home.aspx

National Interagency Fire Center 
NationalWildland Fire Update
http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

National Interagency Fire Center 
National Fire Statistics
http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html