The wildfire season soars from the west coast throughout the upper states Rockies into upper Minnesota and includes Hawaii. The Pacific states are experiencing one of the worst years this year in years. Bolstering heat waves do not help the situation at all! The situation goes towards the interior provinces of lower Canada as well. I am wishing every one of my followers in these vast regions to be prepared for a fiery wildfire season this summer, due to a stagnant, dry, high pressure system called a hot dome whereby which causes excessive heat and not enough rain, due to the nature of the resulting weather. So the onslaught of wildfires to follow is completely and realistically imminent. Heat and not enough rain are the ingredients necessary to cause disaster. I will keep you informed of any of changes as they happen, coming up, and hopefully the sooner the better. Meantime, be ready. I am sharing some helpful tips and pointers to be prepared so that your health and welfare are not adversely affected during this outbreak!
Make sure that you are aware of the latest information, way before any warnings are issued:
NOAA‘s National Weather Service has a web-page designed with safety in mind: National Program: National Weather Service Safety Tips. The center works in conjunction with federal and state wild-land managers to protect lives and property in and around America’s wild-lands. The National Weather Service’s Wildfire Weather Safety web-page will help you prepare, be aware and act early if a wildfire comes your way. A list of partners can be found on the National Interagency Fire Center website. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of a wildfire, please share your story so we can prevent others from becoming a victim. When you write, please note that the National Weather Service has permission to use your story and, if possible, let us know the town and state you were in and the year the event took place. Have proper insurance LONG before the season starts! Don’t start calling when warnings are already in progress elsewhere in the country. Some agents will inform you that once warnings are imminent, that coverage cannot be extended. A lot of times insurance companies will not issue policies during wildfire season, and also appoint minimum lapse dates at the beginning of the insurance inception, thirty days and more. Check with your agent well before season. . .You don’t want to get caught in a situation where you are not covered!
Does the Forecast Involve an Wildfire “Watch” or “Warning”?
It is important that before a warning is imminent that you understand the differences between the status of a watch and a warning, so proper means to access the proper care are at your hands. Also, wildfire, although sometimes associated with, and having some of the same conditions in conjunction with excessive heat and drought conditions, differ in that a wildfire does not need them to become reality. The article: Understanding Wildfire Warnings, Watches and Behavior informs us, courtesy of the National Weather Service includes the demographics in any case of the differences between a wildfire warning or watch:
- Red Flag Warning: Take Action. Be extremely careful with open flames. The National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning, in conjunction with land management agencies, to alert land managers to an ongoing or imminent critical fire weather pattern. The National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning when fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur shortly.
- Fire Weather Watch: Be Prepared. A Watch alerts land managers and the public that upcoming weather conditions could result in extensive wild-land fire occurrence or extreme fire behavior. A watch means critical fire weather conditions are possible but not imminent or occurring.
- Extreme Fire Behavior: This alert implies a wildfire likely to rage of out of control. If is often hard to predict these fires because such they behave erratically, sometimes dangerously.One or more of the following criteria must be met:
- Moving fast: High rate of spread
- Prolific crowning and/or spotting
- Presence of fire whirls
- Strong convection column
Tips: Preparedness Before, During & After Wildfire Watches/Warnings are Issued:
BEFORE THE WILDFIRE WATCH OR WARNING:
Here are tips before the onslaught of any wildfire. A lot of tips and pointers on issues with dealing with a wildfire can be done before a watch or warning are issued:
Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wild-land fire so your home is ready in case of a fire:
- Learn more ways to protect yourself, your family and your property
- Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Mitigation that could save your life and minimize destruction to your personal property. All wildfires need fuel to burn, typically in the form of dry vegetation, as often occurs in forests, grasslands, and cured wheat fields. Tragically, some wildfires also kill people and destroy homes, vehicles, and other personal property. If you live near or within a forest, grassland, or wheat field, there are some actions you can take to minimize your vulnerability to wildfires. If you are a homeowner, the first defense against wildfires is to create and maintain a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. Creating wildfire-defensible zones also reduces the chance of a structure fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding forest. Defensible space also provides room for firefighters to do their jobs when fighting a wildfire.
- Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures.
- Put together a basic emergency supply kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights and generators.
- Plan escape routes and make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
- Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the Ready.Gov emergency plan webpage.
- Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property. Take photos and store the photos in a safe place in case of a loss.
- Think about quitting smoking. It may not even be possible to smoke during a wildfire, and respiratory complications can be exaggerated during a wildfire.
- Fire Weather Definitions:
- Fire Weather Watch:
Fire Weather Watches are issued anytime the area has been dry for substantial amount of time (or for a shorter period during spring green-up or after fall color), the National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) is high to extreme, and critical weather conditions are expected within the next 48 hours. The critical elements are:
- sustained winds averaging 15 mph or greater
- relative humidity 25 percent or less
- temperature 75°F or greater
- Fire Weather Watch:
- Red Flag Warning:
Red Flag Warnings are issued anytime there is an ongoing wildfire, or critical weather conditions will occur within the next 24 hours. These conditions are:
- sustained winds averaging 15 mph or greater
- relative humidity 25 percent or less
- temperature 75°F or greater
- Red Flag Warning:
SET—SITUATIONAL WILDFIRE AWARENESS:
- Pack your emergency items. Have food, water and clothing. You do not know how long an evacuation will last , so have a lot of resources ready.
- Make sure you have your important papers and possessions immobilized, because if an evacuation order is issued, you will not be allowed to stay at your home, building or business.
- Make sure that cell phone battery is properly charged! Don’t forget the charger wherever you go.
- Make sure that you have a plan and properly accommodate any children and be ready for transition towards evacuation. Children are not able to deal with making proper decisions for themselves, and need proper direction.
- Check on your neighbors status, especially if you have elderly or disabled neighbors.
- Make sure that your proper accommodations for any pets are ready for implementation. Make sure that you have consulted with your veterinarian for proper planning if special accommodations for transition are necessary–special instructions will better guarantee the welfare of each particular pet.
- Make sure that you are ready to do the following due to the hazard:
- No smoking
- No fires
- No fireworks
- Stay informed by monitoring the storm by radio, and if power is still an option, plug in the TV, and/or internet. Stay aware of the latest wildfire news at the National Interagency Fire Center Large Fire News site or Incident Information Site (Inciweb) and information on your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news. Have a backup plan. Failures are a possibility, so being prepared for the worst is better than being prepared for nothing. When the authorities issue information with critical information, get ready right away, and listen to direction!
- Follow instructions issued by local officials. Be ready! Leave immediately if ordered!
- If you are instructed to go to shelter, make sure proper planning is adhered to.
- Make sure you bring proper ID, you will need it to get back when the wildfire is over.
- If NOT ordered to evacuate:
- Do not light campfires, bonfires, candles or anything else that could blow over and start a fire.
- If you smoke, be sure to extinguish your cigarette or cigar before disposing of it. Never through a burning item out a window.
- Bag up trash, clippings and other easily flammable items.
- Fill up your vehicle early in case you need to evacuate. Make sure that your automobile is fully maintained, tires are full, immobilized and ready.
Do NOT wait until it is too late. Procrastination is your worst enemy, as once critical information is broadcast, others will pay heed to it and with more persons trying to do the same thing and/or moving to cover at the same time can and will lead to a mock rush hour. It is sometimes harder to think straight during evacuation due to panic and too many people in the same area at the same time, and mistakes happen easier. Make sure that your safety is not compromised! Make sure you do not forget anything at home, because you will not be able to return to home one you leave! The authorities WILL NOT allow you to go back once you make your move for any reason, as they do not have time to deal with security issues and are trained to make sure everyone is getting out. If you wait too long and cannot evacuate, if you have an emergency, a lot of times there may be no assistance for you in an emergency. Even in this computer age, and emergency individuals are swarmed with work, and a lot of people already evacuated.
DURING THE WILDFIRE:
Follow your personal wild-land fire action plan. Following your plan will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire. Here are some pointer while in the evacuation:
- Grab all family members, children, pets, food, and a lot of WATER, plus your valuables that were packed before evacuation, and LEAVE! If you were told to evacuate, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Keep in mind that carbon-monoxide poisoning and other respiratory ailments are the number one category of injury and death among all problems during or in a wildfire. While you are on evacuation, if you feel like your health is compromised, stop what you are doing, or any activity immediately if you. . .
- experience shortness of breath or can’t catch your breath.
- chest pains, including a sharp pain throbbing into either hand down your arms, especially your left arm!
- are lightheaded and/or feel as though you are passing out.
- Unexplained coughing episodes.
- feel nausea or sickness.
- experience muscle cramping. It may be an early sign of another related illness.
- Make sure that if you are wearing any COVID-19 face mask or covering, that you really make sure that you are ventilated properly and are getting enough oxygen to do the activity you are trying to do. There have been more and more people passing out from too little oxygen, especially if there is smoke in your area you are in.
- Do NOT drink alcohol or do drugs! A wildfire is not a situation where a party is going to make things better. You need to think straight and do things right. You may not have time to adjust your schedule to make yourself safe, and the time invested in partying could go to saving your life and others. If you think that you have a problem with drinking and can’t stop or do without it before the presence of a wildfire, there is help: Alcohol & Drug Addiction Hotlines | 24/7 Rehab Helplines. If you wait until a wildfire, you are gambling on possible injury and death!
- Children are completely dependent on you being there for them during a wildfire! Make sure they in your sight at all times. once you are separated from them, given the situation, especially if there is a lot of smoke, you may not be able to find them, and precious time can tick away looking for lot family members! Treat your while family as one unit!
- Same thing applies when it comes to your pets and animals. pets can and will act differently than in normal conditions, so you need to keep them on leashes (discuss with your veterinarian a plan, which could include use of a cage) at all time, because you really do not want to lose your pet during an evacuation of any type. Have food and water for your pets ready and available!
- Keep in constant contact on your neighbors status, especially if you have elderly or disabled neighbors, even if you are not with them throughout an evacuation. Calling and making contact to make sure they are safe is a great idea!
- Refrain completely from any type of fire. Sparks can be all that is necessary to start an uncontrollable blaze. Be very careful if a fire is set–for any reason, to keep it contained at all times! Carry a fire extinguisher that is rated for any type of fire.
- Never, ever–throw a lit cigarette butt out the window of your car or let it fly into the wind! It can be a very serious offense in most wildfire states, and insurance will almost always never cover damages as such due to negligence.
- Do not engage in the activity of lighting and/or launching fireworks during a hazardous wildfire season.
- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates. A battery operated NOAA.com weather radio is most helpful.
- Make sure as many persons know where you are before the emergency, so as many people can keep an account in case of emergency.
AFTER THE WILDFIRE:
Access any and all damages carefully and pay attention to safety.
- If you feel as though your health has been compromised in any way due to the wildfire, or your health feels in any way different, consult your primary physician right away. If it feels more urgent, or you cannot wait for an appointment, go to the emergency room–or if it is an emergency, always dial 9-1-1 for an ambulance.
- If there are losses, call your insurance agent as soon as possible. Follow these tips after proper accessing has been done, and don’t forget to take photos first before you fix damages. keep all receipts for supplies, fixing–for insurance or to claim a loss.
- After the summer months, you can remove any window wraps, films, foils and other building materials that are intended for the wildfire, and do not improve the home. You can remove same from your car. You can put the sunscreen away for the season.
- Fix the decor to return everything to it’s normal state.
- Once home, drive only if necessary. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.
- Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for damaged power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
- Stay out of any building in which you smell gas, see smoke or flames or if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.
- Use battery-powered flashlights. Do NOT use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
RESOURCES & RECOVERY AFTER DISASTER: THE HOME & FAMILY + FINANCIAL TOOLKIT:
There are many disaster and emergency preparedness and assistance resources available for you to help you through the hard times rebuilding:
- American Red Cross: redcross.org
- American Red Cross – Contact and Locate Loved Ones: redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief/contact-and-locate-loved-ones
- American Red Cross – Find an Open Shelter: redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery/find-an-open-shelter
- American Red Cross – Safe and Well: 1-800-RedCross (1-800-733-2767)
- Apps – American Red Cross: redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps. Separate apps cover the subjects of: blood, earthquake, emergency, first aid, flooding, hero care, hurricanes, pet first aid, tornadoes, and wildfires.
- Pet owner disaster preparation and assistance (ASPCA): aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/aspca-mobile-app. This can assist with personalized missing pet recovery kits, creating digital lost pet flyers that can be shared instantly on the user’s social networks, advice on what to do with your pet before, during and after a storm or natural disaster, and the ability store a pet’s vital medical records and dietary needs, which can shave off precious time in the event of an emergency. This information can be easily stored and shared for your convenience as well.
- DisasterAssistance.gov: disasterassistance.gov provides information on how you might be able to get help from the U.S. Government before, during and after a disaster. If the President makes help available to individuals in your community after a disaster, you can visit this site to apply online.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: disasterdistress.samhsa.gov SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters and is dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.
- Call: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): fema.gov FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
- Military OneSource: militaryonesource.mil Offers various articles and resources for emergency preparedness and natural disasters.
- Money Management in Times of Disaster: personal-finance.extension.org/money-management-in-times-of-disaster with information about Money Management during times of disaster:
- Money management in times of disaster: Preparation
- Returning to your damaged home
- Managing finances and making decisions after a disaster
- Ready.gov: ready.gov Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do three key things: (1) build an emergency supply kit, (2) make a family emergency plan and (3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.
- Sesame Street (Emergency Toolkits): sesamestreet.org/toolkits/emergencies has simple and easy resources to help you help children and others recover from an emergency.
- The National Terror Alert Response Center: nationalterroralert.com is a private homeland security blog and not affiliated with any government agency. We archive and comment on homeland security related news items from a variety of news sources and tips, as well as provide immediate updates on breaking stories, bulletins and any change in status to Homeland Security advisory. Nationalterroralert.com has become America’s leading source for homeland security news and information. A collaborative resource of news and analysis related to homeland security events, threats and trends. The National Terror Alert Response Network promotes homeland security emergency preparedness through awareness, education, community involvement and partnerships between individuals, groups and organizations. We strive to chronicle homeland security related news, trends and events in an effort to create national awareness and focus. It is our belief that through education and awareness some instances of terrorism may be prevented and through preparedness lives can be saved.
- TriCare: tricare.mil/disasterinfo In the event of a natural disaster, TriCare US Family Health Plan will post disaster-related information on their homepage. It’s important to know that your TriCare benefits will be maintained during any time of crisis. In the event of evacuation, please take the necessary precautions. In the case of an emergency, dial 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency room. Click on an icon below (on the TriCare website) to read alerts and emergency information in your area.
- TriCare emergency prescription refills: At times during emergencies, TriCare may authorize early refills for prescriptions. You will be notified via this site if early refills re authorized. TriCare officials remind beneficiaries that early refills are only authorized for beneficiaries who specifically indicate they are impacted by the emergency event.
- There is more wildfire health safety information available on the subject search at: CDC: SEARCH = Wildfires. Wildfires are a nasty fact of life, and don’t happen every year, but when they do, it is not so fun! Don’t let the next wildfire be the beginning of lifelong problems or worse, the end of your life or your family’s! Pay proper attention and be safe! You need to be prepared, and be safe.
- Weather Related Resources:
FIND YOUR LOCAL NOAA.com WEATHER RADIO STATION:
FIND YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST:
VersaTileer PREPAREDNESS/COMMONSENSE TIPS & POINTERS:
Other sites, specifically designed with wildfires in mind with great information:
The truth is that I am hearing about this newer theory stated as “Climatic Change”. It is being discussed that because we have a hot year or a wet year, etc.–that this is a definition of climate in considering this a matter of climate change. With the scientific validity, a climate is defined as the studies of weather conditions that are secured over a long period of time, usually 30 years and higher. So the #RealNews of this matter is that this is not only backed up by the U.S.’s own Department of NASA – What’s the Difference Between Weather and Climate?, also by Wikipedia: Climate subject page, then yet also Encyclopedia Britannica: Understanding climate subject page and Webster’s dictionary even defines as “the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation” with an undefined “period” of years. There are articles out there with “experts” stating that this is indeed a sign of climatic change. Then while reading the articles, these are based on information compiled from reputable sources, and then it is disclosed in two cases that the expert testimonial is based on thee great work and study of professionals that work at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a period of a couple of decades–not the 30 or more years you need to begin to access a climate change. Therefore the articles I was reading were misconstruing the expert testimonial on studies of a couple decades and then redefining the meaning of a climate as defined of thirty years or more. Therefore the reporters who made these articles didn’t do a fact check with the dictionaries and encyclopedias first. These persons are actually trying to scare persons more than report great news. There were some sources who did a more excellent job at reporting out there. The reporters could have also did more research about the properties of the cycles of La Niña and El Niño having more to do with climate. We were at the end of a La Niña last year which made the tropics in the Atlantic explode last year.than anything, and it may need to be studied if this has anything to do locally with the conditions in the Northwest. This is not exactly fake news, but severely poor reporting, and the practice of trying to scare readers on a very important and pertinent subject. Just defined–The science always speaks, not opinions. Climate is over 30 years, not a couple decades.
3 thoughts on “Tips For Playing it Safe Near a Wildfire – Tips & Resources”
This is great information that will continue to get more and more important as climate change effects get more prevalent.