Jersey City, N.J. - Catastrophic wildfires cause extensive damage to property and significant disruption to the lives of property owners. In 2005, more than 8.5 million acres burned, nearly twice the 10-year average. This is according to ISO, a provider of products and services that help insurers measure, manage and reduce risk.With more people living closer to brushfire areas, which also happen to be preserves of privacy, the exposure has nearly doubled for insurers between 1970 and 2000.

From 1990 through 2003, property losses from catastrophic wildland fire exceeded $6.3 billion, states ISO. The costliest event was the 1991 Oakland Hills, Calif., fire that caused property damage of $2.4 billion in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars. The insured losses from two wildfires in San Diego and San Bernardino Counties in 2003 amounted to $2.2 billion.

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