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Pacific Nw Wildfire Season: Plan For Worst-Case Scenarios

Release date: 
July 2, 2008
Release Number: 

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Record-breaking temperatures have raised wildfire hazards throughout the Pacific Northwest.? Wildfires are already burning in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state, and FEMA Regional Administrator Susan Reinertson encourages residents to prepare for the worst, stay informed of local conditions and prepare to evacuate if instructed to by fire or emergency management officials.

"Fires can start and spread quickly, and it is important that people living on or near wooded lots and wild land/urban interface areas, take action now to protect their homes and properties," said Reinertson.? "The time to discuss wildfire warnings and evacuation strategies with your local forestry and emergency management officials is before wildfires rage.? Stay in the loop and evacuate if instructed to."

FEMA recommends that residents take specific action before an evacuation is necessary. Residents should clear flammable materials from around the home to create a 30 to 100 foot safety zone around homes, and place a lawn sprinkler on the roof, which can be turned on when evacuating to wet the roof and make it more fire resistant.

FEMA also recommends that family members discuss how to contact one another if the wildfire strikes when family members are separated. Discuss evacuation routes and identify relatives or friends outside the immediate area that can be contacted. Finally, make sure your pets have collars and identification tags and take your pets with you if you need to evacuate. While some shelters won't accept pets, an increasing number of communities are organizing pet shelters when large evacuations are necessary. Check with your local Humane Society, animal shelter or veterinarian.

Another important step that FEMA recommends is preparing an evacuation kit. Items should be put in a container that can be easily loaded into a vehicle for a quick departure.? Items to include:

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio with additional batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medicines, prescriptions and eye glasses
  • Water (at least one gallon per person and enough for three days for each person in the household)
  • Change of clothing
  • Sleeping bags and pillows
  • Cash and credit cards

It is also smart to keep important personal documents quickly available should you need to evacuate. Consider collecting your driver's license, passport and other proofs of identification, birth and marriage certificates, Social Security card, insurance policies, tax records, wills, deed or lease and stocks and bonds. Also, know where your main turn-off switches are for electricity, water and gas.

For more information on protecting your family and your home from wildfires, go to, or

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Last Updated: 
July 19, 2012 - 23:02
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