With 42 people killed and more than 14,000 structures either destroyed or damaged, the wildfires that tore across Northern California this fall are the most damaging in the state’s history. Now numbers continue to roll in showing just how costly this disaster was.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said that $3 billion in claims have so far been filed over losses in the fires. That number is expected to grow, Jones says, as more claims are reported.
Is the 2017 Fire Season a Sign of Things to Come?
Drenching spring rains after a 5-year drought fed growth of lots of grass and brush, which dried to a crisp in the hot summer. Combine that ready fuel with dry, near hurricane-force “Diablo winds,” and an increased population density, October became a tinderbox that needed only a spark for deadly, voracious fires.
A longer fire season, more extreme heat from a warming climate, and expanded urban development will only increase fire risk. A 2016 report by property analytics firm CoreLogic found that 11,000 homes in Napa and Sonoma counties were at “high” or “extreme” risk of wildfire damage.
To cope with this new normal, homeowners should consider fire prevention measures. To cope with the new normal, homeowners need to create fire barriers, a defensible space, and renovate their homes and other structures to make them more fire-resistant. Using proper fire-retardant materials is key to fire mitigation.
Protection with Fire-retardant Plastic Sheeting
Fire-retardant polyethylene sheeting (poly), for example, can help protect construction sites, fencing, pillars, outbuildings, wood piles, and other vulnerable flammable structures.
There is a big difference between fire-retardant and non-fire-retardant poly. Americover’s fire-retardant poly is NFPA 701 certified and contains special additives that cause the material to self-extinguish. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these additives dissipates over time.
For homeowners fortunate enough to be spared damage from this year’s wildfires, it’s never too early to start preparing for next fire season. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has a Homeowner’s Checklist to help you prepare. If you have construction or renovation projects planned, protect your jobsite with fire-retardant materials, and consult with local fire authorities on ways to improve your property’s fire resiliency.
Call us at 1-760-747-6095 today for expert advice on our fire retardant products!