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Wildfires have been wreaking havoc in Texas over the last few years.

2022 alone has seen a spike in blazes across the Lone Star State. Wildfires have reached as far as Houston and, recently, hit Waco.

Waco Recycling Facility Ablaze

The sirens of the Waco Fire Department were heard rushing down the 8000 block of Imperial Avenue Monday, Oct. 10 to respond to a fire at the Sunbright Recycling facility.

The WFD responded to a call at 6:43 p.m. and arrived with 15 units in their army–extinguishing the fire in only one hour. Two area trucks, seven support vehicles and eight fire engines flooded the scene. Waco Fire Chief Gregory Summers said this is why the fire was put out so quickly.

“It could’ve spread a lot quicker,” said Chief Summers. “Thankfully we had enough resources on the scene to extinguish that fire before it got out of control.”

This is true. There is a large brush area by the facility. This process could have taken much longer had the fire reached that point.

“They do spread a lot quicker,” Summers added. “Given the type of brush we are talking about versus a residential fire.”

The current dry conditions in the Waco area also add to the longevity of time. McLennon County is in the severe drought category according to the US drought monitor.

“Some of that vegetation holds heat for a long period of time,” said Erin O’Connor, lead public information officer for Texas A&M Forest Service. “Even if we’ve contained that fire, we have a perimeter around it we’ll see burning for a longer period of time.”

Still, a fire is a fire.

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The WFD reports that the fire left large amounts of debris from burnt recycled materials. Additionally, half an acre of brush was burned after the fire jumped the property line of Sunbright.

One firefighter was hospitalized due to exhaustion.

2022 Drought Condition Causes Texas Fires

The Texas A&M Forest Service reported that they responded to six wildfires on Oct. 19 covering 18.3 acres burned. The fires are largely due to the drought condition and there have been plenty.

So far, the biggest 2022 blaze happened in Eastland County in March. This consisted of seven fires–the Blowing Basin fire, the Kidd fire, the Walling fire, the Wheat Field fire, the Cedar Mountain fire, the Mangum fire and the Oak Mott fire.

The fires accounted for more than 54,000 acres burned. The Kidd fire was the largest–destroying 142 structures.

All of the recent disasters around Texas have created a leap in fire insurance claims. As they should.

TDI Urges Texans to Check Insurance Policies

Wildfires have long been a growing issue in Texas. Most notably, North Texas. The reason for this is that the central US has been experiencing a prolonged high ridge pressure–causing warm air to push to Earth’s surface.

This has caused many Texans to wonder if their fire insurance policies cover disasters such as wildfires. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) urges Texans to check their policies.

According to the TDI, home insurance should cover damage caused by wildfires but there are some contingencies. For example, some homeowners may not have the coverage needed to replace or rebuild personal property.

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Luckily, the TDI does offer some tips on how to handle this process such as checking policy limits; creating a fire-safe zone; creating a home inventory and learning about extra living expenses.