Although there is currently no national standard for wildfire preparedness and potential evacuations, most agencies have adopted CalFire’s Ready, Set, Go! program. This program educates homeowners on ways to be prepared prior to an event and how to handle themselves during potential and imminent evacuation situations.
Before an event, prepare by designating and creating your home’s Defensible Space Zones, which are the buffer between a house and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space helps to slow the spread of wildfire and decreases the liklihood your home catches fire. It also helps protect the firefighters protecting your home.
As fire season approaches, take the time to complete the 3 steps of being set for a wildfire:
- Create a Wildfire Action Plan that includes evacuation planning for your home, family and pets.
- Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person in your household.
- Fill-out a Family Communication Plan that includes important evacuation and contact information.
Being ready to go means knowing when to evacuate the area and what to do if you get trapped. Waiting longer to leave can not only increase the chances of being trapped, it can also cause problems for emergency personnel who are attempting to access the area in order to protect homes within the community.
The Waldo Canyon fire from 2012 is a good example of Ready, Set, Go! at work. Many homes had good defensible space that either left them standing or helped fire crews save them.
Evacuations Map produced by RedZone Disaster Intelligence during the early stages of 2012’s Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, CO.
With Red Flag conditions and changing wind directions that fateful Tuesday, it was crucial that residents were prepared, and that they evacuated ahead of the extreme fire behavior that destroyed 346 structures. Over 32,000 residents in the greater Colorado Springs area were evacuated during this incident.
For more detailed information on Ready, Set, Go!, see CALFIRE’s page: http://www.readyforwildfire.org/.