Growing up, I was always told how blessed we were to live in a part of the country where we truly experience four full seasons. As I have gotten older, it seems we have the standard four taught in textbooks, as well as what has been called “construction season”, and in more recent years, “fire season.” Just as with the standard four seasons, it does appear that some residents in our community and outlying areas are more prepared than others, so what are some bare-boned steps we can take to be better prepared?
Prevention and Preparing Pre-Fire:
- Keep animal pens and hutches with straw bedding in the shade. The sun shining through the animals’ water bottles can cause fires, and the animals have no way to escape
- Keep important documents in a fireproof safe, or create password-protected digital copies stored on a cloud-style system
- Find and store a hose, that will reach all areas around your living area, near a water source for quick hookup and use
- Create a zone around living space of at least 30 feet that is free of yard debris, leaves, and other flammable materials. This is often referred to as a fire-resistant zone
- Pay close attention to air quality reports
- Have an escape plan established with your loved ones, and include a check-in point
During a wildfire:
- Watch for low flying aircraft over lakes and rivers, as they may be preparing to fill with water to help fight a fire nearby. Often the planes and helicopters used to help fight fires will fill up miles from the actual fire. If you see them, immediately get out of the water
- Land drones in and around fires so firefighting aircraft can do their jobs. If drones are spotted, the aircraft are grounded until the drones are grounded
- If not evacuated but in smoky conditions, stay inside as much as possible or relocate to a community building where smoke levels are lower
- If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately, for your safety and the safety of emergency crews in the area
- Also recommended is to let penned animals free if you cannot remove them from the site safely
- If trapped, call 911 and turn on lights to help emergency crews locate you
Please visit www.ready.gov for more information, including information to be safe and prepared post wildfire evacuation.