The New Jersey Departments of Banking and Insurance (DOBI), Community Affairs (DCA) and Environmental Protection (DEP) are reminding Jersey homeowners who live in or near forests to carefully maintain and review their insurance coverage, to maintain their properties with wildfire protection in mind and take common sense precautions while enjoying the outdoors during wildfire season.

The dry conditions that led to wildfires that burned more than 1,000 acres in New Jersey last month have lessened, but wildfires remain a real threat to residents living in rural and heavily wooded areas. The number of wildfires so far in 2012 has already surpassed all of last year’s total, and despite recent rainfall, precipitation levels so far this year remain below those of 2011.

“The break from extremely dry weather makes it an ideal time for homeowners to review their insurance policies to make certain they have enough coverage to replace their homes and all contents in the event of a loss due to a wildfire,” says acting DOBI Commissioner Ken Kobylowski. “A great way to begin that process is to create a home inventory which helps consumers assess their insurance needs and helps tremendously if they have to file a claim.”

“New Jersey residents who live in wildfire prone areas can lessen or avoid damage to their homes by taking some common-sense precautions with their landscaping, their home design and construction as well as restricting outdoor activities when fire danger is high or extreme,” says acting DCA Commissioner Richard Constable.

People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 15 to 200 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.