Protecting Your Business From Wildfires

MyTPG Blog
Published: 12/6/21 5:00 AM

Title image for Protecting Your Business From Wildfires showing a wildfire in a forest.

Protecting Your Business From Wildfires

This article was published on: 12/6/21 5:00 AM

Wildfires are a force of nature that can ruin the lives, land, and structures that stand in their path. Securing your business and residential or commercial property from wildfires is more important than ever. As wildfire season becomes longer and creates bigger fires, more properties and acres are burned each year. According to the NIC Center, 60% of the biggest wildfire seasons have taken place in the last 10 years. This is based on overall acres burned.

Federal wildfire suppression expenses in the United States average at 1.6 billion dollars each year, however, this just accounts for a fraction of the overall costs of wildfires when considering the lives lost, structures destroyed, and acres burned. Proactive risk management methods can help keep the costs of wildfires down, along with keeping your organization and your neighborhood safer in the face of such disasters.

An image for Protecting Your Business From Wildfires showing a firefighter walking through a dangerous fire zone.

This post provides an introduction of the risks wildfires pose. It can also help you know which actions that organizations like yours can take to mitigate those dangers.

The Dangers of Wildfires

Humans trigger almost 85% of wildfires in the United States. These fires usually result from ignored campfires or debris burning. They can also result from malfunctioning equipment used, poorly discarded cigarettes, and deliberate acts of arson. When a wildfire flares up, it can cause fast destruction. Wildfire direct exposures consist of:

  • Radiant heat— If radiant heat is high enough and lasts long enough, it can set combustible items on fire, such as wood siding. If direct flames come into contact, it can also make materials easier to fire up.
  • Airborne embers— Embers can arise from the burning wildfire itself, along with from any flammable products previously ignited, such as close-by plants. These embers– consisting of wind-blown embers, in particular– are the leading cause of structure ignitions.
  • Direct flames— Actual flames that come in contact with structures or combustible products can spark these structures or materials on fire.
An image for Protecting Your Business From Wildfires showing two hills caught in a wildfire.

Wildfires can trigger direct property damage to organizations– leading to service interruptions, transport blockages, and utility disturbances. Costly and lengthy recovery concerns from a wildfire might force companies to raise customer’s rates. Otherwise, affected services may have to close their doors entirely.

Mitigating Wildfire Exposures

Given that wildfires are so harmful, companies should be proactive to assist decrease the potential effects. A wildfire risk management strategy can significantly minimize the likelihood of property damage. Another benefit is minimizing expensive service disturbances and preventing an economically draining healing process.

The first step that your service must take in developing a wildfire risk management method is to evaluate the vulnerabilities of your business property. Considering that wildfires depend on heat and embers coming into contact with various fuel sources to spread, among the most effective ways to prevent a wildfire from spreading is to reduce fuel loads. Roof, exterior walls, windows, vents, seamless gutters, decks, and other accessories are all at risk of igniting, so selecting fireproof or noncombustible materials– like brick and concrete– can decrease that risk. Strategic positioning and selection of trees, bushes, and other landscaping aspects can likewise reduce the risk of wildfire damage.

An image for Protecting Your Business From Wildfires showing a wildfire in an open grassy area.

Clear Steps for Protecting Yourself

Here are methods which can help slow the spread of wildfires, successfully lessening the risks of damage:

  • Clutter. Gutters and roofing ought to be cleared of particles. These might include things like pine needles and leaves. These steps can decrease the ignition risk. Perform these steps at the change of seasons and after storms.
  • Vents. Embers can get into a building through roof, wall and foundation vents. Secure vents with a 1/8″ metal screen to block cinders and set up chimneys with 1/2″ mesh screening spark arrestors. Inspect and get rid of built-up particles from all vent screens.
  • Buffer zone. Developing three unique buffer zones around the structure keeps fire and embers from spreading. These zones should include:
    • Zone 1 (30′ from building)— Eliminate all dry and dead plants and get rid of any branches hanging over the structure’s roofing. Be selective about which landscaping greenery is planted. Also consider using noncombustible products, such as gravel or rock “mulch”. Flammable products, like firewood, ought to not be stored in Zone 1.
    • Zone 2 (30′-60′ from building)— If slowed in Zone 2, there’s a greater chance the fire will not reach the structure. Fires in this zone generally spread between trees, so eliminate any dead vegetation and hanging branches. Group trees and shrubs a minimum of 30 feet apart and prune them consistently. Move storage sheds, trailers, benches and other flammable products to Zone 3.
    • Zone 3 (60′ or more from building)— Zone 3 is the structure’s first line of defense. Remove dead plants and trees. Cut and space out trees and shrubs to produce firebreaks. If the structure lies on a slope, Zone 3 should encompass an additional 150′-200′. This will mitigate fast-moving fires.
  • Class A rated roofing. Class A rated roof uses the greatest resistance to fire. This covering includes concrete or clay roof tiles, fiberglass asphalt composition shingles and metal roofing systems.
  • Storing combustible items. Wood pallets, gas tanks, and other flammable liquids ought to be kept where they will not end up as fuel. Other types of combustibles should also be cautiously stored.

What To Do Now!

As the risk of wildfires continues to grow, organizations like yours need to have plans to prepare for, recuperate and endure from such occasions. For more risk management guidance, talk to TPG Insurance Services today by calling 909.466.7876. Keep learning more about our Commercial Property Coverage by visiting our page now.