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I've been reading/watching various items about the current spate of wildfires.

Other people have said it better than I, but if you live in a potential fire zone, be prepared. Be extra prepared. If you can see forest from your house, have a evacuation plan.

But apparently some people really don't get it. Things like "Oh, the fire looked far enough away so I went on some errands and now my family is all burned up because I had the vehicle."

If you can see flames from your house, it's not a "safe distance", get the fuck out. Even if you haven't been ordered to evacuate, pack up, stay together, and plan where to go. Don't go "run errands" unless your whole household is with you, or has a second means of transport. You really don't want a call asking you to come quickly because the fire is at the back fence... or back door.

No one will call you an idiot if you leave before you have to. They'll nod knowingly and say "better safe than sorry!" If you are under a fire watch, but don't have to evacuate yet.  Whatever you do, don't split the party (ala D&D). Run all the errands together with the essential papers and stuff in your trunk. Because winds change and fire watch becomes "get out now" in a very short time.

If you are in a fire area, keep your radio tuned to a station that handles emergency broadcasts, and have it on. Get a police scanner. If your power goes out in a fire zone, you need to already have batteries, and you might want to think about packing up and leaving. Sometimes the authorities are spread too thin to reach every house in time. (If you can hear flames, run like hell.)

Wildfire is unpredictable and dangerous. So many stories from this year and last year are of the sort "Suddenly everything was burning around us..." and far too many endings are tragic. (Older people found huddled near their door, burned up because they couldn't see their car for all the smoke, people caught under collapsing roofs, etc.)

If you can smell the smoke, be on alert, pay attention to whatever local media you can get. If you can see the flames, even if you think they are "miles away" or "a safe distance", you might want to get the fuck out.

Cal Fire has a lot of resources for emergency planning. So does the California Earthquake Authority (IIRC). In California, Oregon and Washington, those are our greatest disaster risks.

I live in the heart of a major city. I still have a fire evacuation plan, because my neighborhood is a bunch of old, dry, wooden houses. I used to live in Cupertino, near the Apple campus, and it was close to the WUI (Wildland Urban Interface). I could see forest from my home, but there was still a freeway between me and it.  If you live in the WUI, try to get enrolled in whatever alerting or reverse 911 they have.

Your house can be rebuilt, stuff can be replaced. your family can't. Don't become a sob story, please.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2018 05:26 am (UTC)
Well ...
Houses and belongings can be replaced if and only if people have money. In America today, most people's net worth is tied up in their house. That's what they have. If they lose it, they lose almost everything. And the social safety nets are not actually good at helping survivors rebuild a life after a disaster. This is sad, but for people who have seen these things in effect before, some of them may be factoring in things like "I would rather die at home than deal with FEMA ever again."

There's a lot of stupid to go around, sure. People build houses in fire chimneys, and then rebuild after it burns down. They cut trees, drain rivers, and then wonder why California catches fire every summer. >_<

But not necessarily all the things that look stupid are because people didn't think ahead. Sometimes they just looked at different things.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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