Sunday, May 8, 2016

Gearing Up for Wildfire Season

If you are looking for a "worst case scenario" for wildfire, you don't have to look far (or wait until "traditional" wildfire season begins).  The Fort McMurray wildfire, which has been on the news since it began, shows pretty much the worst that you should be prepared for this wildfire season.  Besides starting earlier each year, wildfires are also more destructive than they have been in decades past.  Where does that leave you?  Preparing NOW for late summer wildfires.  Here's how:

  • Read about lessons learned from previous wildfires in order to know what to plan for.
  • If you can get your hands on After Action Reports from previous wildfires, do so.  Again, these are lots of reading but provide a number of lessons learned that you can use in your own planning.
  • Yet even more reading...simply Google 'how to prepare for a wildfire' and you will have reams and reams of websites and documents that will give you step-by-step plans for preparations you should make now.
  • Basic preparedness 101 will help you out during a wildfire (or any other emergency you are likely to encounter).  Have a BOB, an evacuation plan, an emergency communications plan, an emergency fund, a bug-out plan, etc.
  • Stay keyed in to information sources.  Besides following your town/city/county/state fire service on Facebook and Twitter, as well as other informative sources (weather service, Red Cross, FEMA, etc) you can also get up-to-date wildfire maps from a variety of sources (such as here and here).
  • Don't wait!  Don't wait to start saving money "until you can afford it".  Don't wait to get out and clean up the brush around your house "until closer to wildfire season".  And don't wait to evacuate "until the flames are really close to your home".  Taking proactive, definitive action early can save your skin in the long run.
As for any disaster, preparing NOW, before disaster strikes, is the name of the game.  You don't want to wait and be one of the "survivors" blasting across TV news.  By the time stragglers are barely making it out of the fire perimeter, you should be nicely set up in your bug-out location eating a steak and watching the news on TV.

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