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California wildfire protection expands


NOVATO, Calif.—Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. has expanded the territory and offerings of FireProtec, a vegetation cutting crew staffed by off-duty firefighters assisting California policyholders with reducing wildfire exposures.

Through its alliance with FireProtec, the Novato, Calif.-based insurer said it can offer its California policyholders expert advice on wildfire mitigation techniques and discounted vegetation clearing services.

FireProtec aims to preserve life and property and reduce wildfire threats by clearing defensible spaces around properties to provide firebreaks that will slow fast-moving wildfires.

While the recommended defensible space is 100 feet, Fireman's Fund noted that achieving that distance often means crossing property lines. To help negotiate potential property line issues, FireProtec works with code compliance officers from the California Department of Forestry who enforce vegetation clearing, even if the defensible space zone extends onto neighboring property.

The FireProtec experts also can recommend minor changes in homes that can help mitigate wildfire risks such as blocking for gable vents and decks to changes in roof coverings.

Since 2004, Fireman's Fund has awarded grants totaling more than $11 million to hundreds of different fire departments across the country.