Planning for Wildfires
With wildfire season set to arrive early this year, we must prepare now in order to protect our families and our property when faced with an emergency. The summers of 2013 and 2014 brought consecutive large scale wildfires to Wasco County, and this year may very well be no exception to the trend. The Rowena Fire was the highest priority fire in the nation for 3 days. Over 400 homes were placed under Level 3 evacuation status. Fighting the fire ultimately cost an estimated $4.6 million. Two homes and several outbuildings were destroyed. Thankfully, no lives were lost.
There are actions you can take now to protect against future wildfire emergencies. Oregon Ready, Set, Go!, www.oregonrsg.org, is a great resource for wildfire planning information.
Ready - Fireproof your home and create defensible space to protect against wildfires. Make a wildfire action plan addressing evacuation, communications and plans for pets/livestock. Know how to respond safely and leave early if threatened by wildfire. Register now for Wasco County Citizen Alert. All emergency alerts, including evacuations, are issued through the Citizen Alert system.
Set - Create a 72 hour kit for your home including food and emergency supplies, as well as kits for your car and workplace in case a wildfire prevents you from going home. Create a special go-kit and be sure to include important documents, medications, etc. When a wildfire occurs, make sure to stay tuned in for information about evacuation areas and be prepared to leave immediately if an evacuation order is is-sued. Know the three levels of evacuation: Level 1- Get Ready, Level 2- Get Set. Level 3- Go!
Go - Leave early! Knowing when to leave, what to take, where to go, and how to get there will help keep you and your family from being caught in smoke, fire, or road congestion while evacuating during a wildfire.