Oregon negotiating to renew wildfire insurance
The state of Oregon has had an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London since 1973 that helps to cover the cost of suppressing wildfires during busy fire seasons. The premium for that policy has been about $1-2 million. But before the state receives any payout from Lloyd’s they have to spend $20-25 million to cover the deductible, after which the insurance company will cover the additional costs up to $25 million. Two consecutive bad fire seasons has state officials thinking that they may have to pay more for that policy this year.
For the last two months the state has been negotiating with Lloyd’s over the terms of a new policy.
Below is an update from an article in the Bend Bulletin:
…The state sent its top forester, Doug Decker, across the Atlantic to meet face to face with brokers from Lloyd’s of London early this month. Even now, Decker says, the future is uncertain.
“They’ll be asking themselves the question what can they afford to provide, and we’ll be asking the question what can we afford to pay,” Decker said.
Lloyd’s officials said they don’t comment on individual policies, but Decker said about a dozen brokers are crunching numbers and other factors to see whether the company still finds Oregon worth insuring. They’re likely to take into account what the state says is its ability to extinguish about 95 percent of fires before they grow larger than 10 acres . They’ll consider the cameras Oregon places in remote areas to scout for fires.
But there’s another factor Lloyd’s may consider that is working against the state: snowpack. Right now, there isn’t much…
Light snowpack could mean busy fire season in Arizona
The snowpack in Arizona is about half of normal for this time of year.
Researchers study the effect of wildfires on bats
Two Northern Arizona University researchers are learning more about how bats are faring in the post-wildfire Ponderosa pine forests, of which 3.2 million acres have been scorched during the past decade. Because bats help pollenate plants, aid in reforestation and maintain ecosystem balance by eating large quantities of insects, scientists believe it is imperative to understand the effects of wildfire on bat habitats.
“In the short term, it doesn’t appear that wildfire will have substantial impacts on maternity roost habitat,” graduate student Erin Saunders said. “However, as large high severity wildfires continue, paired with the added stress of climate change, we will likely see a decrease in available snags for habitat and possibly a shift in the forest composition.” Saunders added that their relatively short-term research should be continued in order to make stronger land management recommendations.
Firefighters unroll burning hay bale
The Muskogee Phoenix has an interesting photo of firefighters in Oklahoma unrolling a burning hay bale, explaining that they “spent the afternoon [on a 50-acre grass fire] unrolling burning hay bales before winds picked up. According to the Warner fire chief, a hay bale will burn for days unless it is unrolled.”