As of Wednesday, June 13, 2018
SUNNYSIDE With wildfires prompting evacuations in Grant County and other areas of the West, the Northwest Insurance Council is encouraging homeowners to be prepared.
Wildfire damage is covered under most standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies, officials said. But claims can take a lot of time to process and family heirlooms cannot be replaced.
“Weather experts are already predicting a hot, dry summer, with much of this winter’s snowpack already melted – and we are already witnessing wildfires and evacuation notices, even before the season truly heats up,” Northwest Insurance Council President Kenton Brine said. “This is a good time to review your insurance policy with your agent or company to check on your coverage, and a good time to have home inventory, evacuation plans and routes ready in case the worst happens this summer.”
Wildfire season runs from July through September, and is expected to have above-normal fire activity in Eastern Washington, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
“Wildfires burned more than 1.8 million acres in Washington, Oregon and Idaho in 2017 alone, and more homes and businesses are threatened by fire each year as development pushes deeper into the Wildland-Urban Interface,” Brine said. “It is more important than ever for property owners and communities to work together to prepare for and mitigate the impact of these devastating fires.”
In preparing for fire season, officials suggest the following:
- Make a plan - Before an emergency, create a family evacuation plan and consider multiple escape routes from your home and community.
- Make a list - Remember to include prescription medicines, important paperwork and other items you’ll need if evacuated.
- Pay attention – If you’re in the path of an active wildfire, make sure you know evacuation levels in your area.
- Create defensible space – Clear brush 30-100 feet from your home. Keep your yard groomed and watered and remove old stumps and weak or diseased trees. Landscape with fire-resistant plants.
- Fireproof rooftop and decks – Keep roofs, decks and gutters clear of needles and leaves and remove items stored under decks or porches.
- Inventory you home – Keep copies of contracts and receipts of personal possessions in a safe place outside of your home. Take pictures or video of your belongings