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With the potential for multiple millions of dollars in losses, having a trained and experienced wildfire investigator attend to your client’s loss is the smart investment.
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Every year, the national news reports on an increasing number of wildland fires devastating communities, taking lives, and destroying millions of acres of our Nation’s wildlands. In the United States alone, there are approximately one billion acres of undeveloped, natural terrain, with 230 million of those acres containing homes and businesses. Those 230 million acres of developed wildlands are referred to as the Wildland Urban Interface and since 1990, almost 4,000 additional acres a day are being developed as Wildland Urban Interface zones; that’s 2 million additional acres a year. In 2013, it was estimated that over 46 million single family homes, 200 thousand businesses, and 150 million people resided in the Wildland Urban Interface.
In the 1990s, an average of 950 homes a year were lost in wildfires. By the year 2012, that number rose to 4,300 homes per year; a staggering number considering the average cost of a home in the Western United States is approaching $290,000.00. The United States Forest Service estimates large, catastrophic wildfires will continue to burn in the U.S. for another 25-30 years due to the unhealthy conditions of our Nations forests. With the continued structural development within the Wildland Urban Interface, the potential for extreme losses and insurance claims can boggle the mind.
Now, more than ever before, it is vital that a competent investigation as to the cause of the wildfire be conducted. Wildfire origin and cause determinations are specialty investigations that differ significantly from a structural O&C investigation, and the skills and equipment required to conduct a wildfire investigation are just as specialized. While a structural O&C is considered a compartment investigation with specific fire behaviors and patterns, wildfire investigations are anything but a compartment fire requiring a specific knowledge of forestry, terrain, weather, and fuels. With the potential for multiple millions of dollars in losses, having a trained and experienced wildfire investigator attend to your client’s loss is the smart investment.
EFI Global understands the unique skills required to conduct a competent wildfire investigation and has Wildfire Investigators on staff to handle your Wildland Urban Interface claims. Please contact us to report a wildfire loss, or if you have questions regarding wildfire investigations.