In Oregon and California, May is designated as Wildfire Awareness Month. The Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and its partners are engaged in a month-long campaign to encourage, empower, and inform Oregonians to help prevent and prepare for wildfire.
There are many things Oregonians can do to be prepared for wildfire. One of which is creating defensible space. The OSFM has several tips and suggestions to help Oregonians create and maintain defensible space. These simple actions could make all the difference in the event of a wildfire.
Be prepared in case you need to evacuate:
- Keep important documents in a fireproof safe, on a USB drive, or store password protected documents online.
- Check your home insurance to make sure your policy protects your current home value and includes wildfires.
- Give yourself time and evacuate early if possible. If you can’t leave, designate a room that can be closed off from outside air in case air conditions become hazardous.
- Make your household emergency plan and go-kit. When making plans, don’t forget the needs of pets. Make sure that you know more than one way out of your neighborhood.
- Ready.gov offers important safety tips on what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
Another important thing to consider is buying flood insurance. After a wildfire, flood risk increases due to the inability of charred vegetation and soil to absorb water. Rainstorms after a wildfire lead to increased runoff down slopes and into channels, streams, and rivers. Flooding after fire can be fast, severe, and include mudflows as runoff picks up debris, ash, and sediment from the burn scar. Flood insurance can protect property owners from catastrophic financial impacts of flooding following a wildfire.
Wildfires can develop and spread quickly, leaving little time to get somewhere safe. Know what to do to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe and take steps now to protect your future.
Source: OEM, Ready.gov