By Nancy Aird
“WILDFIRE READY NEIGHBORS “– WA new, free community initiative program
“Wildfire Ready Neighbors” is a new, free collaboration between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), preparedness experts, fire districts, and landowners/ residents. Chelan, Okanogan, and Spokane counties initiated this program in April to promote preparing properties against wildfire. Renters, homeowners, and landowners in the three counties sign up at www.wildfireready.com to have a wildfire expert visit their property and develop a detailed action plan. This plan includes mitigation and preparation steps, local resources information, and contractor lists.
Washington wildfires burned 812,000 acres from January to September 2020, with more than 500,000 acres burned in less than 36 hours. Losses during the 36 hours included one civilian fatality and most of the structures in Malden and Pine City communities. Smoke from the last two of three wildfire seasons gave Washington the worst air quality in the world during the fires. Destruction by the most significant 17 WA fires in the 2020 season burned over 273,805 acres of forest, crops, structures, and homes. Total acreage breakdown from the DNR Wildfire Division Annual Report 2020: 41,816 Federal; 115,600 Private; 91,609 State; 24,779 Tribal acres; and 377 structures including 181 homes destroyed.
As of April 30, 2021, 272 fires have burned 650 acres in our current wildfire season. https://www.dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-services/wildfire-resources has many wildfire resource links and articles for everyone to use to promote mitigation and preparation against wildfires.
***CHECK INSURANCE POLICIES***
Check your insurance coverage on your property. Make sure it is up to date on values and replacement coverage. My insurance carrier (American Family Insurance) added a free policy endorsement to show partnership with a wildfire defense company. The contracted agency will monitor wildfire activity and deploy preventative services when a wildfire can threaten a covered property. Check with your insurance carrier for their policy coverages. This link is being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the COE of any products, services, or opinions of the organization or individuals. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.