Warm Weather, Dry Conditions Could Mean More Wildfires in Northeast

April 12, 2012

Northeastern states are not known for frequent wildfires and brushfires. But that could be changing this spring as the region faces record-high temperatures and unusually dry conditions.

“With more than 15,000 temperature records broken in the U.S. in March 2012 alone, combined with low precipitation and little or no snowpack across much of the nation’s lower 48 states, this year could be very active one for wildfires and brushfires, including parts of the Northeast where such events are relatively uncommon,” said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute in New York.

In 2011, wildfires scorched more than 8 million acres across the United States, damaging thousands of homes, businesses and vehicles and causing $855 million in insured losses, according to the I.I.I.

The Institute offers resources online that explain what types of losses are generally covered under a standard homeowners or business property insurance policy.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety in Tampa, Fla., also noted this week that dry and windy conditions are triggering wildfire in the Northeast region. The group offers wildfire resources online for homeowners, including how to create defensible space zones to keep wildfires from spreading.

Also, the American Red Cross offers online a wildfire safety checklist, including a list of essential supplies to prepare in case of evacuation.

“More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings, rural areas or remote mountain sites. There, residents enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of wildfires,” according to the American Red Cross. “Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. In a wildfire, every second counts.”

 

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