T&D World Magazine
Wildfire: A Burning Issue for Insurers?

Wildfire: A Burning Issue for Insurers?

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire , consuming vegetation in the countryside or a wilderness area , such as forest, woodlands, bushland, scrubland, grassland or peatland. Prescribed fires used by humans in a controlled fashion for land management purpose, also known as management burns, are not considered wildfires unless they get out of control. Wildfires and prescribed fires in wildland areas are termed wild land fires irrespective of their size or rate of spread. Where wildfires are very large and have very high human, economic or environmental consequences, they are sometimes described as mega-fires, although a precise definition is lacking.

Wildfires have been a natural process for over 400 million years since plants began to cover the land. Many forests, shrub and grassland ecosystems are well adapted to burning and, for these, naturally recurring fire is an important agent maintaining ecosystem health. The primary natural ignition source is lightning. However, humans are another common ignition source, either by accident, arson or where management fires get out of control.

However, it is important to recognize that overall the availability of flammable fuel is the limiting factor for wildfire. In many areas, wildfire risk is seen as an increasing threat with wide ramifications for society, businesses and the environment. This report will show how land management, socio-economic factors and climate influence economic damage and insured losses caused by wildfires. The report will al so discuss the nature of wildfires, their global distribution, the role of management, socio-economic and climatic drivers in changing wildfire patterns, as well as the implications of wildfires for the insurance industry and wider society....(Read full report)

 

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