And the Flames Went Higher: The Continuing Wildfires of the West

If there’s been one news item that’s always plaguing adjusters west of the Mississippi it’s the constantly developing story of those wildfires that just won’t quit.

None more fresh in our minds than the fires in Colorado, which have been raging for weeks. Homes have been destroyed, towns temporarily displaced due to evacuation, and casualties have even occurred–most recently one woman was even found dead in her home in Utah when firefighters returned to an evacuated area hours after residents left.

There are many factors contributing to why Colorado has suffered so badly from this raging firestorm. The chief among these being the fact that “the nation is experiencing ‘a super-heated spike on top of a decades-long warming trend,’ said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.” as reported by the Huffington Post via the Associated Press. This, in addition to thousands of acres of wooded land that is, while a wonderful thing for the environment and nature, nothing short of an enormous tinderbox during particularly dry weather. Finally, there’s just plain chance.

As if to showcase how unpredictable things can be, it was determined that the Boulder County blaze was caused by a lightning storm. Some wildfires can be caused by humans–there’s arson as well as careless mistakes like leaving a campfire that’s not completely extinguished or even the wind carrying sparks from a cooking fire. Of course, there are plenty of natural causes too like lightning and even rock falls that result in sparking (something that’s entirely possible in the state most famous for its Rocky Mountains).

Regardless of cause, Colorado is in uproar. While tourism centers in the state still harbor hopes that, because of Colorado’s large size, the fires won’t spread to certain high-volume tourist areas. They also hope that potential tourists aren’t turned off to the idea of traveling there, for the time being, after hearing of the blazes through the news. Besides that, thousands of people are out of their homes for an indeterminable amount of time, toughing it out in shelters or staying with family and friends while waiting for news concerning their homes and livelihoods.

As hard as firefighters and others are working to contain and diminish these fires, it’s unknown exactly how the wind and temperatures will affect them. Until the situation is more controlled, losses, like the 257 homes lost from the High Park Fire in northern Colorado, will continue to occur — and adjusters need to be prepared.

When smoke and fire damage is incurred, possessions are often destroyed or badly marred if the home isn’t burned down entirely. Because of this, it’s best to call in expert evaluators like those who work at Enservio to assess the value of any items affected by the event. Insurers World employs experts well-versed in various areas of evaluation so that, if a claims adjuster doesn’t have the expertise in an area, say, fine art or furniture or jewelry, the specialists at Enservio are guaranteed to determine an accurate value on such items.

While it’s good to be prepared for the damage that the aftermath of these Colorado blazes will surely bring, here’s hoping that the wildfires of the west can be tamed so that no more homes or lives are lost.

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