August 20, 2020

Wildfire Resources and Insurance Protection

In response to the numerous California wildfires impacting farm operations and communities around the state, Western Growers has compiled a list of resources detailing produce, farm and worker safety in relation to wildfires.

The following is a list of resources WG members can utilize:

  • United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service. August 2013. This resource includes information regarding food safety considerations during emergencies such as fires. Click here to access.
  • United States Department of Agriculture. August 2013. Fires and Food Safety. This resource addresses general food safety and handling considerations during fires. Click here to access. 
  • University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. Produce Safety after Urban Wildfire. This resource incudes best practices for produce safety after a fire, a community guide for assessing the potential health impacts of locally grown produce exposed to urban wildfire smoke and a research report about produce safety after a wildfire. Click here to access. 

  • UC Davis. Food Safety After a Wildfire. This resource provides several resources and information related to food safety after a wildfire. Click here to access. 
  • California Department of Industrial Relations. October 2019. These resources address key considerations regarding worker safety and health during wildfires. Click here to access. 
  • California Department of Industrial Relations. November 2019. Protecting Outdoor Workers Exposed to Smoke from Wildfires.  This resource helps determine if there’s been harmful exposure, how to protect workers if the outside air is harmful, along with providing additional resources. Click here to access.
  • UC Farm Advisor Staff. September 2018. Farm Preparation for Wildfire and Other Emergencies. This document will assist you in thinking through four important areas of disaster preparedness for your farm: Paperwork & Plans, Farm Map & Layout, Tools & Machinery, and Operations and Training. Click here to access.
  • Oklahoma State University Extension. July 2018. Wildfire: Preparing the Ranch and Farm. This document discusses preparation and wildfire readiness to minimize damages to operations. Click here to access.
  • Petaluma Bounty. Produce Safety Post-Wildfire. This article describes how wildfires impact the safety of local produce and eggs. April 2019. Click here to access.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services Wildfire Emergency Response Plan. May 2006. The goal of this plan is to limit the adverse physical and behavioral health effects from a wildfire, protect the public from sources of contaminated food and water and enable hospitals and healthcare facilities to prepare for an evacuation or possible increase in patients. Click here to access. 
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service. January 2006. Management After Wildfire. This document includes considerations for landowners to manage their property during and after a wildfire. Click here to access. 
  • United State Environmental Protection Agency. October 2002. Emissions of Organic Air Toxics from Open Burning. This is a research document on open burning pollution and emissions, the reporting of those emissions, and the different type of open burning activities and their effects. Click here to access.
  • California’s Protection from Wildfire Smoke Law via Western Growers Insurance Services. July 2019. This fact sheet shares vital information about California’s Protection from Wildfire Smoke Law – a law which creates obligations for employers to ensure the safety of employees who work outdoors in proximity to a wildfire. Click here to access.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Compliance Policy Guides – Foods, Colors, and Cosmetics. This resource provides guidance for growers in evaluating the safety of their product, focusing on color and cosmetics of the crop. Click here to access.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Compliance Policy Guide – Reconditioning of Foods Adulterated Under 402(a)(4). This link answers questions concerning what is adequate reconditioning of food products found to be prepared, packed or held under conditions which cause them to be adulterated under Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Click here to access.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA Compliance Policy Guide – Diversion of Adulterated Food to Acceptable Animal Feed Use. This guide provides procedures for submitting requests to the agency for authorization to divert adulterated foods for which no criteria have been established. Click here to access.

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: Action Levels for Poisonous or Deleterious Substances in Human Food and Animal Feed. This document lists action levels established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for poisonous or deleterious substances in human food and animal feed. Click here to access.

Additionally, operators can minimize damage by taking advantage of risk protection insurance offered by Western Growers Insurance Services (WGIS).

The following coverages apply during a wildfire crisis:

  • Commercial Property: Commercial Property policies include wildfire and other disaster coverage. WGIS recommends business owners follow the tips below to gauge whether their current policies provide enough coverage:
    • Have your property appraised regularly to be sure it is sufficiently insured if you need to rebuild, replace, or repair.
    • Coverage should be high enough to cover all assets in the event of a loss. Include computers and other equipment, as well as inventory, furniture, and records when calculating assets.
    • Make sure your policy includes coverage for business interruption to cover costs while in the rebuilding phase.
    • Consider valuation coverage options such as margin clauses, agreed amount.
  • Crop Insurance: Crop Insurance can reimburse growers for losses incurred by natural and other disasters.
  • Weather Hedge Protection: Western Growers Weather Hedge Protection helps secure the full value of crop production against unpredictable weather that can threaten crop yield and cash flow.

To obtain or learn more about insurance options, visit