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2/25/2013 - IIBHS: Prepare for another active year for wildfires


Wildfires are projected to be prevalent in certain areas of the country in 2013.

Drought-like conditions are expected to mire much of the country this summer, which could spell an increased risk for wildfire, new projections reveal.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety cautioned Americans to update their homeowners insurance policies, as the potential for wildfire may be high this summer.

Julie Rochman, president and CEO of IIBHS, notes that if 2012 is any indication of what 2013 will be like, it could be a record-breaking year for this type of environmental catastrophe.

"Wildfire losses have been on the rise during the past couple of years in several states, with Colorado, Texas and Wyoming being particularly hard hit," said Rochman. "2013 is shaping up to be another very dangerous year, because of a combination of weather-related factors."

She added that even though 2013 is less than a few months old, numerous states have experienced significant dry spells, evidenced by limited rainfall and lower-than-usual snow accumulation totals.

"It is critical that individuals and communities vulnerable to wildfire act now to reduce their risks," she said. "Property owners can use our effective risk-reduction tools to build what is essentially a 'self-defense' system for their property during a wildfire."

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the lower 48 states, with temperatures averaging 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year was also one of the driest years. Not since 1988 did the U.S. see such limited precipitation.

In its 2012 Natural Hazard Risk Summary, analytics and services provider CoreLogic notes that the wildfire season was the third most destructive ever in terms of acreage that burned.


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