Saturday, August 15, 2015

Having your business survive a Wildfire.

I started fielding calls last night for the latest round of Wildfires in Eastern Washington. With high winds, draught conditions and lightning strikes it made for a long night. Some of the best growers in the state are in remote areas that property coverage when possible is costly. With the trends of the last couple of years, the price of fire insurance for property will continue to rise. Insurance is to get you able to rebuild. Yes, it can be costly however do you want to start from zero or do you want to have money to rebuild?

One of the first things that I talk about is defendable space. Clearing brush and barren roads help reduce the chances of fire jumping. There are plants that resist wildfire better than others. Remember it is only a reduction. Keep sprinklers running to reduce flare ups on your outdoor crops. Last night was a grim reminder no barrier is 100% effective as we had fire jump the Columbia River. At almost a mile across, residents consider it one of the best barriers for fire and it failed. If you are ordered to evacuate then get out.

The major issue for remote location is power. You cannot run your fans or your pumps with no power. Some of my guys favor small generators but quite a few are on solar. I am taking out my Teardrop trailer today. It has a 135 Watt panel on top and with an inverter; I can run a large portion of a client’s farm. The lack of power left large portions of last year vulnerable during last year’s season.

Lastly, if your crops get hit by the fire retardant, rinse off as soon as possible or else your plants’ leaves will burn. It can stain paint and discolor metal. Don’t let pets drink from puddles.

Good luck out there and stay safe.


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