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Handling a Wildfire Disaster

"It can't happen to me." That's what a lot of people think when they think about wildfires. Their town, their street, their home must be immune. But according to the National Interagency Fire Center, there have been 67,743 wildfires that have affected 5,509,995 acres of land in 2016. Those who have homes built in dry climates and in heavily mountainous areas are especially susceptible to damage from wildfires.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, as many as 90% of wildfires are caused by human activity. Causes include unattended camp fires, burning garbage, discarded cigarette butts that aren't properly extinguished and arson. Lightning and lava make up the remaining 10% of wildfires. They spread quickly, especially in dry climates with little rain fall. Wildfires destroy property and life and can be hard to contain if they aren't dealt with immediately. Dry brush and shrubbery ignite easily and eventually lead to homes being set ablaze.

Many homes are burned down along with everything a person owns and cherishes. Vegetation is destroyed and can take years to come back to its previous state. But you aren't powerless to the chance of a wildfire. The best defense is a good offence as they say. Prevention is key to keeping your home safe from wildfire damage.

The good news is because so many are caused by human carelessness and error, it is preventable. You can take responsibility for preventing wildfires by properly disposing of cigarettes and burning debris in appropriate containers. Simple things like keeping your debris pile small and having water close by could save you, your property and your neighbors' homes. Never leave a fire unattended.

Even with more education for the public, wildfires will still happen. People will continue to do careless things with the fires they start and natural occurrences of lightning strikes igniting wildfires are inevitable.

Having an emergency preparedness plan in the event of a disaster is your best defense against wildfire. Your family should designate a safe meeting place to reconvene. Place emergency kits at home and in cars that include food, water, spare clothes, copies of important documents and toiletries.

Having the right insurance policy can also protect your home, property and belongings in the event of a wildfire. If the worst should happen and you lose your property, at least you will have the peace of mind knowing that all is not lost and you can replace your home and belongings. Contact your agent with questions on what kind of policy is right for your home, property and family and for your sense of security.

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