Fighting Colorado's forest fires without insurance

By Emily Hutto

ProducersWEB


In the wake of natural disaster and the country's health care reform, perhaps it's time we all put a bit more thought into the security of our families, and the individuals working to protect them.

More than 32,000 people have evacuated Colorado Springs, Colorado this week, fleeing from the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire in the southern part of the state. North of Denver and outside of Fort Collins, the High Park Fire, the second largest fire in the state's history, has burned down 257 homes and wiped out approximately 136 square miles. That's the same square footage of Boulder, Broomfield and Fort Collins, Colorado combined, according to Huffington Post.

On Tuesday, State Farm told the Denver Post that it had already received 60 claims for complete building losses from the High Park Fire. Other insurance agencies in the area can't even begin to predict the damage claims yet to be filed. The Denver Post also reported that while insurers all advocate that homeowners bring their insurance paperwork with them when evacuating, most companies recognize that leaving it behind is the least of evacuees' worries.

The 12 forest fires currently blazing in the state of Colorado are a harsh reminder that no one is invincible when it comes to natural disaster, and even if you can't find it upon evacuation, you need to have paperwork that represents you're the owner of catastrophe insurance.

Uninsured residents in Larimer County (the site of the High Park Fire) will be able to apply for a permit that waives demolition fees to clean up the remains of their homes. County Commissioner Steve Johnson told the Reporter Herald yesterday that he hopes taxpayer dollars can go to the support of residents paying for damages out of pocket, rather than to waiving insurance claims.

Also populating news channels this week are numerous reports about the lack of federal health insurance available to seasonal firefighters. Despite life-risking situations, inhalation of smoke and fumes and 18-hour days, temporary workers of the United States Forest Service are not eligible for health coverage.

Colorado's fires and firefighters are sharing headline space this week with news about the looming PPACA decision to be announced tomorrow. In the wake of natural disaster and the country's health care reform, perhaps it's time we all put a bit more thought into the security of our families, and the individuals working to protect them.