Record Wildfire Season Impacting the U.S.
Missoula, Montana. July 15, 2011 - As wildfires continue to rage in Arizona and Florida, it is a reminder that every state has the potential for a wildfire. Although, Montana has had record rainfall and winter snowpack for 2011, Montana is not in the clear this wildfire season. The heat and dry climate in late June and early July can potentially stay for weeks, drying the surrounding vegetation, creating a ready fuel bed. By late summer, the dry weather and dry vegetation coupled with a significant wind event can change the wildfire outlook from good too very dangerous.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, nearly every state in the U.S. has already experienced a wildfire this year.Wildfires during the first five months of this year have burned 3.2 million acres; predicted to soon surpass the 3.4 million acres of land and property that burned during all of last year.
Wildfires are a serious risk to life and property in Montana. As the weather becomes hot and dry, so is the increased potential for wildfires.State Farm wants to remind you that the best way to reduce property loss due to wildfire is to plan ahead.
Two of the most important steps to reduce wildfire damage is to clear and maintain a defensible space around your home and structures and clean debris from on and around them as well. Clearing or trimming vegetation reduces the chance of fire damage and provides a safety zone for firefighters.
"If you have a tree that's dead, laying on the ground or dead standing, it's the same as if you were going to build a campfire," said Beverly Ferguson, president of the Lockwood FireSafe Council. “Dead dried out timber is going to burn hotter and faster. The removal of these dead trees is very critical."
Here are several easy and inexpensive ways to create a defensible space:
In addition to protecting your home, review your homeowner’s insurance coverage with your agent, especially if you have made recent changes to your property. Document your belongings by creating a home inventory. An accurate inventory and proof of ownership can make your claim settlement easier and faster.
State Farm has partnered locally with FireSafe Montana to offer communities current news, events, mitigation tips and wildfire preparedness resources. Through collaboration of resources and a Good Neighbor Philanthropy Grant, State Farm is one of many sponsors of FireSafe Montana’s mission of reducing the loss of lives and property from the threat of fire in and around Montana communities. FireSafe Montana has designated June as Wildfire Preparedness month. View their website for up to date preparedness month news and events in your area.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety provides regional information on wildfire risks and ways to reduce loss to your home and business.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firewise Communities® program also educates the public about taking action to reduce wildfire damage.
Daniel Losk, Public Affairs Specialists, (253) 912-6457
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S. State Farm's 17,700 agents and more than 67,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - 79 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm is ranked No. 34 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com®