Fighting Wildfires Is Burning Hole In Taxpayers’ Pockets - WSPA.com

Fighting Wildfires Is Burning Hole In Taxpayers’ Pockets

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Firefighters battled nearly 5,000 wildfires across the Carolinas in 2013. Firefighters battled nearly 5,000 wildfires across the Carolinas in 2013.

Firefighters in South Carolina and North Carolina fought nearly 5,000 wildfires in 2013.

Officials say the cause of most were from people burning debris.

“If you allow a fire to escape your control, you are eligible to receive a citation,” says Brian Rogers with the N.C. Forest Service.

Violators in North Carolina can expect to pay $230. The fine is a little steeper in South Carolina at $460. You can also be sued for damages if you let a fire to escape and burn someone else's property, no matter where you live.

Homeowners planning to burn debris need to pay close attention to the weather. Typically, wildfire season runs through mid-April.

In 2013, the federal cost of fighting wildfires was around $1.7 billion, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“As gas prices increase, that directly affects the cost of fire suppression,” Rogers said.

So what can you do?

If you are getting rid of yard waste, make sure you have a permit. That requires you to clear a firebreak around the burning site and keep necessary equipment, like a water hose close by.

Insurance experts say any type of fire, whether it started inside or out should be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.

If a wildfire damages your home because of someone's negligence, your insurance company may seek compensation from that individual.

Experts recommend asking your insurance company for a discount on your policy as many insurers will give customers a break if they have taken certain safety precautions to reduce their chances of a fire.   

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