Homeowners on both sides of state should be ready for wildfire

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Washington wildfire
Photo courtesy State of Washington

WA State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

So far in 2019, 851 wildfires have burned 13,613 acres of public lands, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. In 2018, 1,743 fires in Washington burned 438,834 acres.

It’s August and we are in the thick of Washington state’s wildfire season.

The fire risk is low in only one county for the entire state — Grays Harbor. The rest of the state is at moderate, high or extreme risk of wildfire.

Minimizing the risk posed by wildfires is a reality for all homeowners in Washington state. It’s no longer an issue only for those who live in Eastern Washington. Here are some tips for all Washington homeowners.

Insurance coverage
  • Review your policy. Does it have adequate replacement coverage if you suffer a loss?
  • Buy special coverage to protect specific valuables, such as jewelry, fine art, and other items that may have limited coverage under your homeowner policy.
  • Prepare a household inventory. If you lose the contents of your home, an inventory makes the claim easier and faster.
  • What you should know about insurance claims after a fire.
Protect your property

There are many resources available to homeowners about how to physically protect their property from a fire. Common tips include:
  • Keep debris out of your gutters and off your roof.
  • Replace or repair missing or broken shingles on your roof to prevent embers from taking hold.
  • Replace or repair broken screens and use wire screens to box in areas below patios and decks to keep flammable materials from accumulating.
  • Create a fire break by removing any flammable material away from the exterior walls of your house — mulch, plants, firewood, leaves and needles. Here’s some information about fire-resistant plants.
  • Health hazards
  • Wildfire smoke is dangerous for everyone. Refrain from outdoor exercise when the air is smoky. If you have asthma or any other health condition, the state Department of Health has information about face masks.
  • Keep your health insurance information and any medications you use ready in case you need to evacuate. The state Emergency Management Division has information about disaster preparedness.
More information


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