Wildfire Preparedness

Wildfires have become a common hazard in Blaine County. Some wildfires develop slowly, while others happen very quickly. Additionally, wildfires can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting the entire county. Planning for and being prepared for wildfires will help you stay safe. This page provides basic safety tips, as well as how to and what to do before, during and after wildfires.

Do you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit? If not, put one together now. If you already have a kit, check and restock it, if needed. Here’s a good basic emergency kit supply list: https://www.blaineemergency.org/emergency-preparedness-kit/

Do you have a Personal Emergency Plan? Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about various situations and plan just in case. Here is a link to some great templates to help you create a personal emergency plan: https://www.blaineemergency.org/personal-emergency-plan

Red Flag Warnings

Red Flag Warnings = Dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours

Steps to Take

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Sign up for local, Blaine County Emergency Alert Notifications here.
  • Go to the NOAA Fire Weather Outlook Page here.
  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check-in with your friends and family.
  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Before Wildfire Season

Make a Wildfire Plan

  • Know your wildfire risk.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate. You can find more information on our LEPC Home Page.
  • Make a wildfire Personal Emergency Plan including an evacuation plan and a communication plan.
  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”
  • Build or restock your Emergency Preparedness Kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions or evacuation orders.

Prepare Your Home

  • You can take action by preparing and protecting your home against wildfire using the Firewise system. Click here for more information.
  • Create and maintain an area approximately 30’ away from you home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, brush, and other landscaping that can burn. From 30 feet to 100 feet reduce or replace as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible and prune vegetation, create “fuel breaks,” such as driveways, gravel walkways, and lawns. Work with neighbors to create spaces up to 200 feet around your homes where vegetation is thinned to remove underbrush and tall trees do not touch each other for continuous canopies.
  • Regularly clean the roof and gutters.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.
  • Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home’s contents.

During A Wildfire

  • If there is a wildfire in the area, be ready to evacuate on short notice.
  • If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don’t assume that someone else has already called.
  • If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately – make sure and tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.
  • If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 9-1-1 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

After A Wildfire

Returning Home

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch.” Check and re-check for smoke, sparks or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Cleaning Your Home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Do NOT use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.
  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

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