For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2023
How to Get Ready for Wildfires
By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
Over the past few weeks, Oklahoma’s dry, warm and windy weather contributed to more than 20 wildfires. These fires have burned thousands of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings across the state, forcing evacuations and impacting hundreds of Oklahomans. Our team recently visited wildfire sites in Logan County to survey damage and help deliver assistance for disaster recovery. Hearing so many heartbreaking stories from victims about their losses was emotional.
Wildfires can start and spread so quickly that you may not have time to think about a response. That’s why I’d like to remind Oklahomans to get ready. Being prepared will give you peace of mind and make recovery easier. The best way to limit the damage and recover from this type of devastation is to have a plan before the flames spark. Here’s how to get ready:
- Avoid Outdoor Burning During a Red Flag Watch/Warning
Practice awareness and avoid outdoor burning when a Red Flag Fire Watch or Warning is in effect. Keep a fire extinguisher handy if you must work outdoors with equipment that gets hot or involves sparks.
- Create a Fire-Safe Space
Keep your property free of overgrowth close to the home that could catch fire. Remove anything flammable within 5 feet of your house. Trim branches hanging over your roof. Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters and roof. Don’t forget to check your deck for any material that can catch fire.
- Check Your Insurance
Review your homeowners insurance policy to ensure you have enough coverage to rebuild your home if it’s destroyed by fire. I also recommend creating a home inventory. This tool will ensure your insurance claim will be settled faster and easier.
- Create an Evacuation Plan
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Choose a route away from the fire hazard and be alert to the speed and direction of fire and smoke changes. Also, learn all roads out of your neighborhood.
I understand filing an insurance claim can be overwhelming, especially during a crisis. Please contact us if you have suffered losses to a wildfire or have insurance-related concerns or questions. We’re here to help and want to make sure Oklahomans receive the assistance they need to recover as quickly as possible. Please contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov/after.