PASADENA, Calif. -- A few years ago James Taylor lamented in a popular song, ?I?ve seen fire, and I?ve seen rain.? So has California, and with catastrophic results. After a major burn-off of water-absorbing vegetation during wildfire season, adjacent communities often get slammed by exaggerated flooding from heavy rain.
Californians know from experience that exceptional mudflows and flooding problems follow wildfires. In the fall of 2003, record damage occurred during a series of wildfires in Southern California. A year later, rainfall led to flooding disaster in all seven of the counties recently scorched, plus Kern County.
The 2007 wildfires have expanded high-risk flood hazard areas once more. State and federal officials report that only 81,000 property owners and renters out of 7 million in the 2007 wildfire area have flood insurance. That?s about 1 percent.
Throughout California, only 267,000 out of 13 million homes have flood insurance?only 2 percent. Many uninsured homes are at great risk, and homeowner?s insurance does not cover floods or mud flows. Over the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage, flooding damage is three times more likely than fire.
?No one wants to look out their window to see flood water or mud flowing toward them,? according to a spokesman with the National Flood Insurance Program in California. ?There is a 30-day waiting period before a new policy will take effect, so now is the time to protect the investment in your home or business before the rainy season gets worse.?
Flood policies are sold by private insurance agents and are available for homeowners, renters and business owners. To learn more about flood insurance and the risk to your property, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
Today would be the right day to check this out.
FEMA coordinates the federal government?s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.