UTAH (ABC4) – Utah is more prepared for wildfires this year than it was last year. An ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating measures how prepared a community is for wildfires by looking at fire departments, available water supply, and emergency communications.
According to a study by QuoteWizard, Utah ranked 6th as the most prepared state for wildfires. As drought conditions continue each year, it’s important that states stay as prepared as possible for wildfires.
Nationally, only 57% of communities are rated class five or better. States that are more susceptible to wildfires are usually more prepared with a lower ISO rating average. ISO ratings are divided into classes with a lower number meaning the community is well prepared.
Utah had 74% of its communities achieving a class 5. The most prepared state is California, with 48% of its communities achieving a class 3.
Utah can continue to improve its ranking and preparedness by ensuring training and equipment are up to par for fire departments, that water supplies are at capacity, emergency communications are always available and assessing community risk frequently.
ABC4’s meteorologist Bob Bedore shed more insight into Utah’s current wildfire risk.
“The one good thing about droughts is that it’s in your face and all over the news, more people are aware of the risk of fire when they’re aware that we’re in a drought,” said Bedore.
Bedore says although it’s important for communities to stay prepared, it’s equally, if not more important, for individuals to stay aware and careful as well.
“People should always be aware of fire risks they might create, but it’s also important to be aware of others who are not careful,” said Bedore. “Anything from dragging chains or a small firepit with high wind conditions can cause a wildfire.”
As temperatures continue rising this summer along with sustained drought conditions, winds will pick up, making increased wildfire risk almost inevitable. Weather officials are constantly reminding the public to practice fire safety when recreating outdoors and to always stay alert.