Q: How Much Does the Assessment Cost?
As part of a special offer, in 2018, assessments will be free through October. 31.
The program's assessment fee has increased by $25 every year since the program began.
- 2014 - $25
- 2015 - $50
- 2016 - $75
- 2017 - $100
Q: Why Should I Prepare for a Wildfire
The risk of catastrophic wildfire is a real and serious threat. In many areas, it is not a question of if a wildfire will impact your home, but when. Living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) comes with new responsibilities and challenges. We have the opportunity to significantly reduce the potential for WUI fire disasters, but this opportunity depends on you, the homeowner, creating and maintaining effective defensible space and retrofitting your home with safer materials.
A well-mitigated home gives firefighters the opportunity to do their job more safely. Firefighters will not risk their lives to defend an unmitigated home. If firefighters are unable to directly protect your home during a wildfire, having implemented effective wildfire mitigation will still increase your home’s chances of survival.
Q: What is Wildfire Mitigation?
Some measures are designed to modify the forest environment surrounding a structure that puts the structure at risk from destruction by a wildfire. Others focus on modifying the construction of a structure itself to improve its ability to withstand a wildfire without being dependent upon fire suppression resources. Wildfire mitigation increases the chances your home will survive a wildfire. It does not guarantee that it will survive.
Q: If I Have Received a Home Assessment in the Past, do I have to Complete Another One?
If you had a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist visit your property in the past, then you already have a solid understanding of how to properly prepare your home. We offer free progress check-ins to provide assistance with any challenges you are facing.
In addition, ongoing research is giving us a clearer picture of how and why homes are lost in fires. Researchers from across the nation are working in labs, studying the characteristics of embers, testing building materials, and investigating home loss in the field after major wildfires. They are making exciting breakthroughs on the specifics of why some homes survive and others are lost during fires.
Q: What am I Required to do to be Certified as a Wildfire Partner?
One of our professional Wildfire Mitigation Specialists will visit your home and work with you to identify precisely what you need to do. Due to onsite variations in home construction, topography, forest density and existing landscaping, it is impossible to provide a specific list of what you will be required to do to be certified as a Wildfire Partner prior to your home assessment. (View Wildfire Partners Sample Assessment Report 1 or Sample Assessment Report 2.)
Q: How Much Time do I Have to Complete Required Actions?
Everyone's home construction and forest density is different and will require varying levels of mitigation. Some homes will require a lot of work that could take several months or even years to complete; others may only need some minor yard work. However, you will have a clear deadline for hiring a 2018 Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor if you would like to receive financial assistance.
Q: What Changes Will I Have To Make To My Home?
The building materials that your home is constructed with greatly influence its vulnerability to ignition. Everyone’s home is different so it is difficult to provide a specific list of items that each homeowner will need to address. In addition, there are often several options available to mitigate identified weaknesses in home construction.
Q: Will you make me clear cut my property?
A number of factors will determine which – if any – trees (or other vegetation) need to be removed from your home ignition zone (for most homes this zone extends 100 feet from the structure). A properly mitigated home will usually have clumps of trees, openings and isolated individual trees. Our specialists will work with homeowners to preserve high value trees and other vegetation if possible.
The objective of tree thinning is to reduce the amount of radiant heat your home is exposed to during a wildfire and to prevent direct flames from touching your home’s walls and windows. The goal is to break up forest continuity by creating large openings and separation between trees in an attempt to change fire behavior. Proper crown separation can help change an intense crown fire (a wildfire burning in the tree tops) into a less threatening surface fire. It is much more likely for a home to survive if the fire approaches from the ground.
Q: Will completing the program help me with my insurance needs?
Allstate, State Farm (existing customers), and USAA have agreed to accept the Wildfire Partners Certificate as proof of proper mitigation. While we don’t have an agreement in place with all insurance companies, as far as we know, all other companies have accepted the certificate as proof of mitigation since the program began.
We have engaged the insurance industry as community partners to provide valuable input into the inspection process with the goal of reducing wildfire property risk and increasing insurability, however, the insurance industry does NOT use individual resident information from our program in determining rates or which properties it will insure.
Wildfire Partners is designed to reduce the potential for wildfire to damage or destroy a home, however if that property is damaged or destroyed by fire, participation in the program or completing mitigation required by insurance companies will not impact your ability to file a claim or collect a settlement from your carrier. Mitigation steps only come into play when insurance companies determine whether they can sell or renew a policy depending on the risk, not after the fact.
Each insurance company is free to honor the certificate as long as they deem appropriate. Wildfire Partners will return for follow-up inspections upon request. In general, our partners insurance companies believe two or more years is a more appropriate timeframe than one year for re-certification.
Insurance information courtesy Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.