State of Oregon’s wildfire insurance premium may increase after the 2014 fire season

Beaver Fire

The Beaver Fire, August 12, 2014, in northern California. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The state of Oregon has an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London that helps to cover the cost of suppressing wildfires during busy fire seasons. The premium for that policy has been about $2 million. But before the state receives any payout from Lloyd’s they have to spend $20 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 next year.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Bend Bulletin:

…Like car insurance, where premiums go up when drivers have accidents, one thing is clear: If the state can land another policy through insurance giant Lloyd’s of London to help with rising wildfire costs, it’s going to have to cut a bigger check.

“We’re fully expecting that based on the experience of the last two years that we’ll probably be paying more for insurance if we can get a policy in the coming year,” Rod Nichols, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said Wednesday.

The prospect of missing out on wildfire relief has rural lawmakers talking about thinning and clearing fuels from forests and addressing the effects of climate change.

“One of these years we’re going to light up Southern Oregon and have a fire season you won’t believe,” Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, said.

Oregon has had a wildfire insurance policy for nearly four decades…


New way to share lessons learned

Alabaugh Fire

Alabaugh Fire, July 7, 2007. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has added a new lesson sharing tool to their bag of tricks. Using the 18-minute video about the experiences of the two firefighters that were entrapped in one fire shelter on the 2007 Alabaugh Fire south of Hot Springs, South Dakota, they created a new training experience using a system developed by TED, called TED-Ed. The way it works is that you view the video, then answer or discuss 12 questions. (Link to the final TED-Ed product.)

In case you’re not familiar with TED, it is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

(UPDATE: there is another TED-Ed that the LLC created. It’s for the Mudd Fire, where an engine crew survived an entrapment.)

The video below is not the TED-Ed product, it is the original lesson sharing video in which the two firefighters tell their story about the entrapment. This video is the foundation for the TED-Ed product which can be found HERE.