Protecting commercial property against wildfire damage
Is California on fire? For those of us who were either born or raised in California, it can seem that way. Wildfires in the West and South West are getting bigger, hotter, deadlier and more destructive every year. Fire season now starts sooner and lasts well beyond the traditional “season,” which typically ran from June to October, and the impact continues to grow.
Record breaking 2018 season
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive on record in California. As a result, a national disaster was declared in Northern California. There were a total of 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres — the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season. The fires resulted in approximately 18,000 structures being lost, $3.5 billion in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs and 104 fatalities.
What’s fueling the increase?
According to experts, a combination of numerous factors led to the California 2018 wildfire season becoming so devastating. First, an increased amount of natural fuel available, associated atmospheric conditions linked to global warming and more people living in fire-prone wildlands. Several studies have also indicated that climate change contributes to droughts, which means less water and drier conditions leading to more combustible vegetation. Add to the mix that there have been record-breaking heat waves and you’ve got a cocktail for disaster. Last but not least, the ignition source and unfortunately, we have plenty of those: humans. Humans have been the main cause of wildfires in California. Causes are various, both deliberate and unintentional, such as arson, fireworks both legal and illegal types, unattended campfires, cigarettes, cars, golf clubs (sparks created from metal clubs) and downed power lines.