The U.S. Senate today approved a proposal by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) that helps homeowners qualify for flood insurance coverage following a wildfire as part of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Residents in forest communities often face flood hazards following a catastrophic wildfire because of the rapid loss of soil-holding vegetation. Under federal law, homeowners purchasing new flood insurance coverage must wait 30 days before their policy becomes effective, leaving their property particularly vulnerable to summer monsoons during the height of fire season. The new law passed by Congress allows the FEMA Administrator to make an exception to the 30 day waiting period when a flood is connected to a wildfire on federal land.
"After meeting with the victims of the Schultz Fire in 2010, it was clear that Congress needed to address this coverage gap," said Senator John McCain. "I returned to Washington and introduced the Burn Area Flood Prevention Act, which, among other things, proposed allowing waivers for the 30-day waiting period. I am pleased to have worked with the Senate Banking Committee and my colleagues Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Mark Udall to develop the legislative language that was eventually incorporated into the Flood Reform Act."
A companion bill of the Burn Area Flood Prevention Act was introduced last year by Congressman Paul Gosar.