Baseball is commonly considered the great American pastime, but don’t tell that to the millions of people who go camping every year. Camping is an activity that can be enjoyed by almost anyone, young or old, alone or in groups with family or friends. Americans have been getting back to nature for centuries, and many famous Americans, from Thoreau to Cody Lundin, have become national icons by sharing their adventures in the wilderness.
Most people are responsible campers, but not all. According to a May 16, 2014 article by the Associated Press, there are more than 72,000 wildfires in the United States every year, and humans are the cause of most of them. All it takes is a single untended spark from a campfire and acres can be ablaze.
The first concern with any fire or other natural disaster is people’s lives. Forest fires can be very fast moving, and it is all too easy for a camper or hiker to get caught in the fire’s path. Sometimes, as was the case in Arizona last year, even the brave Hotshot fire crews can perish. But even if no lives are lost, there is still the chance that the fire could get out of control and start to threaten homes and other property. In these situations, evacuations are necessary.
If there is a forest fire in your area, monitor its growth on the Forest Service Website at http://www.fs.fed.us/. If an evacuation seems imminent, be sure to:
- Put on a local radio station. Announcements will be made if an evacuation is ordered.
- Make sure you have plenty of drinking water available
- Have clothes for each family member and either call a relative or find a hotel or Red Cross location to stay at
- Have a first aid kit, credit cards, and cash with you when you leave
In the event that the fire does reach your home or property, picking up the pieces can be difficult, especially monetarily. Insurance companies might attempt to withhold the payments you are due, payments you need to rebuild your home and life. It is advisable that you seek out a lawyer to help make sure that you get the money you are entitled to, the money you need to help you put your life back together.