The insurance industry has been among the least willing to hedge bets against climate change, and it looks like vacation home owners and others with homes built in fire-prone areas of the West may well face higher fire insurance premiums or greater requirements to prove they are mitigating risk -- if they can get coverage at all.
Allstate stopped issuing new policies to new California homeowners recently, and other insurers seem poised to follow suit in some way. The 2007 fire season has seen 56,147 fires burn 4.6 million acres burned so far, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, and the largest fire now burning -- the 1,000-square mile Murphy Complex in Idaho -- has claimed an area approaching the size of Rhode Island.
The fires season has not claimed as much as last season's milestone of 5.1 million acres -- but it was predicted to be among the worst on record, and all indications are that it is already and will continue to be. The reason? Little snow in many mountain areas led to little runoff, led to overall dry conditions exacerbated by excessive heat and an ongoing drought.
In other words, conditions made more likely by global warming are leading to increased risk of frequent and intense wildfires. Insurance agencies are reacting to that long-term increased risk.
Wildfire photos from around the world submitted by The Daily Green community to the Weird Weather Watch photoblog
Tahoe fire, Sierra sunset
Griffith Park Brush Fire
Griffith Park Burning
Athens Wildfire 2
Florida on Fire
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