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IBHS: 2013 could be another record year for wildfire activity

Posted On Wed, January 30, 2013

Prospective homeowners may want to begin their search for cheap insurance quotes sooner rather than later, as a new forecast says that wildfire risk will be high through the better half of 2013.

The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety recently warned home and business owners to prepare themselves for what could be another record year of wildfire damage, as forecasters project that much of the country will be mired with exceedingly limited amounts of rainfall and drought-like conditions.

Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO, made mention of the prevalence of wildfire activity over the past several years, particularly in western localities like Texas, Wyoming and Colorado. The Centennial State experienced wildfire activity like never before in 2012, with thousands of acres burned and hundreds of properties destroyed.

"[The year] 2013 is shaping up to be another very dangerous year, because of a combination of weather-related factors," said Rochman.

Based on recent climatic data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, IBHS notes that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the lower 48 states, with temperatures averaging 55.3 degrees, up from its previous record-high of 54.3 degrees Fahrenheit 15 years ago.

While dry spells typically occur in the warm weather months, the National Drought Mitigation Center notes that nearly a dozen states are already well short of healthy levels of rainfall, IBHS indicates.

In addition to updating home insurance policies, Rochman says homeowners can take precautions now by limiting the shrubbery and vegetation that surrounds a residence. Its website also has a number of wildfire guide books that detail how homeowners can shield themselves from losses depending on the area of the country they live in.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, Idaho witnessed the largest destruction of property in terms of acreage last year. Through December 2012, 1.5 million acres were scorched by wildfires in the Gem State.

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