An aggressive wildfire continues to rage in Nevada this week, prompting Governor Brian Sandoval to declare a state of emergency. The fire, which broke out in the northern reaches of the state, has burned more than 400 acres since it began last week. State officials estimate that some 20 structures, including homes and businesses, have fallen prey to the fire and at least 9,000 people have been displaced. Only one death has been reported to date.
The emergency declaration allows state agencies and insurance companies to make use of federal resources that will aid in recovery. FEMA has arrived in the state to help mitigate the disaster, but much of that responsibility is being placed with insurers. Nevada has an emergency fund of approximately $3 million, much of which comes from state agency grants and loan repayments. If the fire continues to burn unabated, the state may end up using every penny of that money.
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Insurers have begun working with those affected by the disaster. State firefighters are working to ensure that homes are protected but the unruly nature of the fire has proven to be difficult to manage. Insurers will make use of federal aid to help process claims and, if necessary, bring in out-of-state insurance agents and adjusters to work with the victims of the fire. The extent of the damage is not yet fully known and the current numbers available will likely grow larger before the fire meets its end.