Wildfires Could Impact Your Timeshare Vacation

Stay on top of highway closings if your timeshare vacation involves highway travel.

Hazy Summer Days May Be In Store for Timeshare Vacations

With drought conditions in much of the southeast US, wildfires have been a serious problem this spring. Already, roughly a half million acres in Florida and Georgia have burned during some of the worse wildfires in many years.

If your timeshare vacation plans include destinations in states affected by the fires, and you are traveling by automobile, stay alert for intermittent road closings that may interfere with your travel. Not only have some smaller state roads been closed, sometimes for periods of up to one day at a time, but major interstates have also been affected. In south Florida, smoke and limited visibility has repeatedly closed parts of Alligator Alley, the section of Interstate 75 that crosses the Everglades from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples. And on several occasions in recent weeks, portions of Interstates 75 and 10, near the Georgia-Florida border, have been closed for extended periods, sometimes shutting down both north and southbound interstate traffic and east-west interstate traffic at the same time. The St. Petersburg Times quoted Florida Transportation Department spokesperson, Pamela Griffiths, as saying, “As dry as Florida is, the wildfire situation changes every half-hour.”

Even if your timeshare vacation plans do not take you into the areas directly affected by the fires, smoke and diminished air quality can affect outdoor activities, especially for children, the elderly, and anyone with allergies, asthma, or other types of breathing problems. Shifting wind conditions and the large land area involved in some of the wildfires have resulted in poor air quality, sometimes hundreds of miles (and several states away) from the actual blaze.

Most states now offer the “511” system for providing up-to-the-minute information about travel conditions. While people know to call “911” in case of emergencies, many people are just beginning to learn about “511”. Dialing 511 is a free phone call from most phones; however, some cell phone providers may charge you for the call. Each state or municipality maintains its own 511 service, so features vary depending on your location, but in general, a phone call to 511 gives you information on road closings, traffic conditions, accidents, driving times, and alternate routes.

Another helpful resource to call is the timeshare resort or timeshare company where you are headed. Ask them about road situations and air quality in the local area, and for any advice on the best roads for getting there.