The nation’s 10 worst wildfires

With wildfires forcing the evacuation of thousands of Utah and Colorado homeowners in recent weeks, we thought it would be interesting to look at how much damage those uncontrolled blazes can cause.

The most costly catastrophes have happened in California, where some of the fastest-growing counties are in forested areas. Seven of the nation’s 10 worst wildfires happened there, resulting in insured losses from $406 million to $2.5 billion. Ouch!

Here’s a look at the data, courtesy of the Insurance Information Institute:

So how can you keep your home safe? If you choose to live in an area that runs the risk of wildfire, here are some pointers from the U.S. Forest Service.

  • Eliminate all flammable materials (potential fuels) within 10 feet of the house.
  • Remove pine needles from gutters and the roof.
  • Staple metal window screening over any openings or gaps including low decks, walkways and crawl spaces.
  • If possible, place sprinklers to wet the area around the house especially within 60 feet of the house.
  • Reduce or eliminate surface fuels starting at the house to within 100 feet of the house and prune lower limbs of trees at least 8 feet above the ground.
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