Catastrophe Alert: Wildfires Rage in the Western United States

Like tornadoes in the midwest or hurricanes in the gulf coast, wildfires are a major regional threat to the western United States. Fire season in California usually begins in late Spring/early Summer and lasts until the first major rain storms of winter, which typically happens in October for northern California and November or December for southern California. In the last few weeks, fires that have been burning since July have come to greater national attention. A major heat wave and high winds have added fuel to the flames and made containment a challenge. As fires spread across California and threaten neighboring states, many residents are being evacuated and losing homes and businesses to the flames. 

Origins of the 2020 Wildfires

The first fires of the 2020 season started way back in May, but were small and quickly contained. The current outbreak of wildfires began with the Red Salmon Complex, which is still burning. Lightning strikes sparked the two fires, Red and Salmon, that later merged into one. While that fire continued to rage, a series of intense thunderstorms struck in mid-August and spawned the series of fires that have joined Red Salmon Complex in creating a record-breaking fire season for California. Not all the current fires started from natural causes, however. A pyrotechnic device at a baby gender reveal party sparked the El Dorado fire. As of September 8, that fire alone has burned over 10,000 acres. It was only 16% contained as of September 8, 2020.

2020 Wildfire Impact To Date

In California, the 2020 Fire Season has been the biggest in recorded history. In an average year, wildfires burn about 310,000 acres. This year, fires have burned more than 2 million acres. They have also destroyed more than 3,300 structures and killed 8 people as of September 8. In cities and towns that have been evacuated, many residents have lost homes and businesses. Most of California and areas in neighboring states such as Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Colorado are under red flag warnings. This means that conditions such as dry land, high winds, and lightning are highly possible and citizens should take extra caution. 

2020 Wildfire Forecasts and Outlook

Many experts have a grim outlook for the next few months. This time of the year is considered early in the fire season, and there are still months of red flag conditions ahead. With the fires thus far setting records for acres burned, no doubt the damage will only increase before the fire season ends. Thick smoke covering much of California is making containment and rescue efforts difficult, since pilots and firefighters are having a hard time seeing. Additionally, COVID 19 is further complicating containment, evacuation, and relief efforts. First responders have to be mindful of protecting themselves and others from the spread of the virus at the same time as they fight fires and help victims. 

Are You Ready To Help?

If you have been considering a career change to insurance adjusting, now is a great time to get started. The sooner you begin your training and get licensed, the sooner you can be on the front lines of recovery efforts in California and anywhere else disaster strikes. With our convenient online courses, you can start right away and work at your own pace. Buy online or give us a call to get started today!