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Prevent damage and stay safe during wildfires

More than 100,000 wildfires occur annually in the United States. A single spark from a cigarette, campfire or downed power line can ignite a blaze that could last for weeks.

Most wildfires occur in Western states where heat, drought and frequent thunderstorms create ideal conditions for outbreaks. According to Verisk’s 2017 Wildfire Risk Analysis1, 4.5 million U.S. homes were identified at high or extreme risk for wildfires, with more than 2 million in California alone. Losses from wildfires have totaled over $5.1 billion during the past 10 years.

Top 10 states most at risk for wildfires2

Top 10 states most at risk for wildfires: California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Montana

Take these steps to prevent wildfire damage in and around your home

  • Clean debris from gutters, downspouts and roofs. Leaves, twigs and litter act as fuel for fires caused by wind-born embers.
  • Keep leaves, firewood, propane tanks, boats, playground equipment and other flammable materials at least 30 feet from your home.
  • Trim tree branches to at least six feet above the ground.
  • Replace flammable wood bark and rubber mulch with gravel, brick or concrete.
  • Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate or make home repairs.
  • Assemble a fire or storm toolkit , including N95 respirator masks to filter harmful airborne particles. Include critical supplies such as medications, inhalers, etc., for people and pets.
  • Store important documents in a fireproof safe.
  • Review and practice driving to community evacuation routes and shelters, and research alternate ways to leave the area.
  • Contact us to review your home coverage to ensure you have the protection you need.

When a wildfire approaches

  • If you see a wildfire, call 911 to report it.
  • If you’re told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Close house and car windows to keep out burning embers.
  • Check Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio, or local alert systems for additional emergency information and instructions.

After a wildfire

  • Wait for authorization that it's safe to return home, and water is drinkable.
  • Avoid overloaded phone lines by using texts or social media to reach family and friends during and after a disaster.
  • Maintain a fire watch by periodically checking for burning sparks or embers throughout your home, including attics and basements. Check the roof and exterior, too.
  • Outside, keep an eye on hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, live embers or underground heat pockets that could ignite another fire. Keep pets and livestock away from possible danger areas. Be prepared for potential flooding in areas that are badly charred or stripped of vegetation.
  • When conditions are safe, take photographs or video property damage. Contact us to report your claim or begin a claim online. Upload photos/video to help us complete the claim process and handle your loss.