It is tinder dry in much of the Western United States – the driest conditions in over 100 years. It is so dire, California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency. “These are perhaps the worst drought conditions that California has ever seen, since records (began) about 100 years ago.” Brown emphasized the importance of the inherent danger of the drought by adding, “This is an effort to call for arms. We can take this drought as a stark warning for other things to come.”
It’s not just California. Just this week (January 23) federal officials from the Department of Agriculture designated portions of 11 drought-stricken western and central states as primary natural disaster areas: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California. Officials warn the dry weather could mean an active fire season, as evidenced by the uncommon early blaze near Los Angeles.
Now is the Time to Protect Your Home from Wildfires
Fire experts say it is essential that property owners create buffer space around their homes and other structures. California Casualty has partnered with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) to provide tips to make your home and property more resistant to wildfires. Ideally, this defensible space should be 30 to 100 feet away from your home.
- Remove leaves and needles from roof, gutters and yard
- Clear yard of any dead vegetation (plants, trees, shrubs)
- Place woodpiles, wooden picnic tables, wooden play structures and any other combustibles at least 30 feet from your home
- Maintain a clearance around your home of at least 30 feet to allow for fire equipment
- Remove any combustible materials from under decks or porches
Don’t be a statistic.
In 2012, nearly 70,000 wildfires burned 9.3 million acres and destroyed more than 2,100 houses in the U.S. Continuing drought conditions – particularly bad in the West – and higher-than-normal predicted spring and summer temperatures are setting the stage for another potentially devastating year of wildfires.
Fire safety and preparation are everybody’s responsibility. California Casualty is in the business of insuring your property, but actions you take now can reduce your risk from wildfires. Here is where you can get your Checklist.