Wildfire season is in full swing with more than 102 large fires burning in 12 states. Each year, the extent and damage of wildfires are expected to worsen due to climate change. While we may not be able to stop fires from burning in our area, there are steps we can take to help minimize wildfire damage on your home and loved ones.
Prepare Before A Wildfire
Even if there are no active wildfire areas near you, it is important to prepare for the possibility of one if you live in fire-prone areas.
- Know the evacuation routes and determine several ways to leave your area.
- Invest is fire-resistant landscaping. Fire-resistant shrubs and trees are not fully fireproof, but they do not easily ignite from flames. This can help decrease any possible fire damage.
- Prepare a disaster kit and make sure everyone in your household knows where it is located. In this kit, you should have cash, water, canned food, and can opener, batteries, flashlights, and protective clothing.
- Make sure everyone in your household knows how to turn off the home’s electricity, gas, and water.
- Revisit your home insurance policy and make sure your home has wildfire coverage.
Staying Safe During A Wildfire
If you are near an active wildfire, it is important to not panic. Make sure to monitor the situation and prepare yourself if evacuation is ordered.
- Evacuate immediately if you are given orders of evacuation.
- Keep track of the fires near you.
- Set up a portable air filter to reduce your exposure to smoke. If you do not have an air filter, stay indoors, and keep all the windows and doors shut.
- Make sure you and your family have an evacuation plan.
After the Wildfire
If your home was damaged by wildfires, your first instinct may be to view the damage that has been done. However, do not go back to the scene of the fire until it is completely safe to do so. When you return to an area that has been affected by wildfires there are important things to keep in mind:
- Protect yourself from ash by wearing protective clothing and proper respirators.
- Watch out for any health symptoms that may develop in children, those with chronic health conditions, or pregnant women.
- Watch out for any hot spots or sparks. If you spot one, try to put it out with water.
- Do not stay too long in areas that have been damaged by wildfires.
If your home suffered smoke or structural damage due to wildfires, you may need to file an insurance claim. Because wildfires can affect several people at once, insurance companies may be reluctant to give you fair compensation so you can rebuild. If you believe your claim has been undervalued, contact a wildfire insurance lawyer in your area to talk about your options.