Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Multiple fires threaten Eastern Washington

Over 40 wildfires are burning in 11 counties in Eastern Washington lands of the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, causing Gov. Inslee to request a Federal Emergency Declaration. 

Our hearts go out to the families of the three firefighters  who lost their lives in the fight to save the town of Twisp and to the other firefighters who were injured.

These fires have claimed more than 50 homes and over 235,000 acres of land. Several communities are under evacuation orders. Weather conditions over the next few days will create the potential for these fires to spread to neighboring communities. 

Follow news about the fires on Twitter using #WaWILDFIRE.

The Insurance Commissioner’s website has information for consumers about wildfires and homeowner’s insurance, including things you should talk to your insurance agent about and tips for protecting your home and belongings. We also have tips for filing a claim after a natural disaster and how to find disaster resources.

Here are some other resources:

Wildfires are predicted to be extensive this summer. Here are some tips for preparing for wildfire risk:
  • Check your policy to make sure damage from wildfires is covered. Some policies include some coverage for emergency shelter, such as a hotel, if a home is uninhabitable. 
  • Review your policy to make sure you have enough coverage. Things like fine art, jewelry and computer equipment may have limited coverage under a standard policy. But you can buy special coverage that gives you more protection for those types of items, called a rider. Contact your insurance agent or broker to ask about supplemental policies. 
  • Catalog your home’s belongings in case you need to make an insurance claim. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a printable home inventory checklist or you can try free iPhone/iPad or Android apps. 
  • You can help protect a rural home and limit the danger by clearing a natural fire break between your home and surrounding trees, brush and uncut fields. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has information on how to protect yourself and your home before, during and even after a wildfire. 
  • Have an emergency kit and a family communication plan. Know the location of your valuable papers, including insurance policy and contact information, mementos and anything you can't live without, so you can evacuate with them, if needed. 
  • Here's a list of recommended emergency supplies to keep on hand in the case of an evacuation. 
  • Don’t forget about planning for your pets. Ready.gov has tips for pet owners
Consumers can seek help with their insurance or ask insurance-related questions by calling our consumer advocates at 1-800-562-6900 or contacting us online.