Jun 18, 2018
Follow-up on 2017-2018 California Wildfire Season

{Sponsored} Abnormally strong Santa Ana winds and global warming are blamed for a particularly intense wildfire season in California last year through the early months of this year. It was the most devastating fire season in modern history in California when you consider any number of statistics, per the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Between the Thomas fire that raged for six weeks and those in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, $180 billion in damages were attributed to the fire season.

Greenhouse operators were spared. The area where these fires were most intense are two of the top producing areas for nursery, greenhouse and floriculture crops in the U.S. Ventura County is the fourth largest producer and Santa Barbara County sits at number eight.

The season was delayed by extreme flooding, but despite that, risk was abnormally high due to temperatures in the state — the second highest average temperature on record — and the arid climate once the floodwaters dried.

Quick stats:

  1. 9,133 total fires in CA during the 2017-2018 fire season
  2. $700 billion in fire suppression (nearly double the budget)
  3. 810 structures damaged
  4. 9,470 structures destroyed
  5. Major greenhouse areas — the fires were in one of the largest areas of cut flower growers, nurseries and greenhouses — were largely spared.
  6. 1,381,405 acres ravaged by fire
  7. 43 people lost their lives, including two firefighters. This was more than the previous ten wildfire seasons combined.

Next season may prove to be even more catastrophic. Global warming is blamed, and risks have increased dramatically. The length of last fire season was up almost 20 percent over seasons in the late 1970s.

Even if your greenhouse is spared from the wildfire, ash can float far outside of the mandatory evacuation zones. When ash is in the air, greenhouses need to be closed up as ash can smother plants and is very hard to clean off of blooms once they’re opened.

Wildfire season will be here in no time. For now, greenhouse owners can ensure their insurance policies are up to date, especially if they’ve recently completed construction or renovation, and that inventories are current and backed up off-site.

For greenhouse proprietors in areas at risk of damage or destruction from wildfires, here are some links to protection and prevention suggestions:

https://disastersafety.org/ibhs/protecting-your-business-from-wildfire/

https://www.osha.gov/dts/wildfires/index.html

https://www.ready.gov/wildfires

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Wildfire-safety-tips

 

© Hortica 2018

For more information, visit the Hortica® website at www.hortica.com.

Hortica® property and casualty coverages are underwritten, and loss control services are provided, by Florists’ Mutual Insurance Company and Florists’ Insurance Company, members of the Sentry Insurance Group. For more information, visit hortica.com. Policies, coverages, benefits and discounts are not available in all states. See policy for complete coverage details.




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