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5/30/2011 - Wildfires can occur anywhere

Wildfires have spread across much of Texas.

When people hear the word "wildfire" they tend to think of one state in particular - California. But every year, millions of homes and places of business are affected as thousands of acres are burned. In fact, according to statistics compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (III) from the National Interagency Coordination Center, Georgia, Indiana and Missouri were among the top 10 states for wildfires in 2009.

Because of wildfires' unpredictability, Lynne McChristian said that home and business owners should have procedures in place in the event of an emergency.

"Anyone living near a wooded area should have an evacuation plan that is rehearsed by the entire family," said McChristian, III's spokesperson in Florida, another state that sees frequent wildfires.

Standard homeowners and business insurance policies cover damage related to wildfires, which will come in handy for property owners in Texas. Since the wildfire season began, approximately 1.5 million acres have burned and hundreds of businesses and homes have been destroyed. The devastation has led Texas Governor Rick Perry to call on the federal government for disaster-related assistance.

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