Wildfires & Property Protection

May 2, 2022

A neighborhood on a hillside with wildfires burning in the background.

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies

According to the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC), 58,950 wildfires burned 10.1 million acres in the U.S. in 2020 — the second most acreage in a year since 1960; 17,904 structures were destroyed.

While nearly 40% of the land impacted was in California, more wildfires actually occur in the east and central regions of the country, but the fires are smaller and burn less acreage.

Wildfires are mainly unplanned and unwanted but there are ways to prepare. We offer some safeguards that you can share with your clients.

Property Maintenance

Landscape

  • Clear leaves/other debris from the property.
  • Keep at least a 30-ft. radius around buildings clear of flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks, etc.).
  • Prune trees so that the lowest branches are a minimum of six feet from the ground.
  • Keep the lawn hydrated and maintained.

Driveways/Access Roads

  • Ensure gates open inward and are wide enough to accommodate emergency equipment.

Water Supply

  • Have multiple garden hoses long enough to reach all structures on your property.

Building Safeguards

Roof

  • Build or re-build roofs with materials less vulnerable to fire (composition, metal, clay, tile).
  • Block any spaces between roof decking and covering to prevent embers from catching.

Vents

  • Cover vent openings with 1/16- inch to 1/8-inch metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh.
  • Consider ember- or flame-resistant vents.

Windows

  • Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage.
  • Consider limiting the size and number of windows that face large areas of vegetation.
  • Install screens in all usable windows to increase ember resistance and decrease radiant heat exposure.

Walls

  • Build or remodel walls with materials such as stucco, fiber cement wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials.

Decks

  • Screen in exposed areas below buildings and under outdoor decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and other combustible materials from accumulating.

Brought to you by Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, A+ Rated (by AM Best as of 4/2021) Property and Casualty insurers. Visit www.guard.com for product availability.

Sources:
National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) Wildland Fire Summary and Statistics annual report.
https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF10244. CAL FIRE. Prepare for Wildfire.
https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/hardening-your-home/

The information contained herein is not all-inclusive but intended to provide a general overview for marketing purposes and should not replace the guidance, advice, or recommendations from licensed insurance or legal professionals or other industry experts. All state and federal rules/regulations apply. © February 2022.

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