Fire & Forest: On the Hill, be prepared for emergencies …

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We are well into our summer season with Memorial Day weekend over, Father’s Day done and by the time you read this, 4th of July festivities in the rear-view mirror. Not to put a damper on all the fun and enjoyment most people get out of this time of year, but let’s recap several fire events that have happened so far this year.

The month of June thus far has had four significant vegetation fires in Southern California. Their consequences have been destruction of multiple structures, thousands of acres burned and four fatalities. The fact that these fires all started within almost a week of each other in four different counties shows that our landscape, even after a somewhat normal winter of rainfall, is ripe to burn.

This year marks the third anniversary of two fires in the San Jacinto Mountains, the Mountain Fire in July and the Silver Fire in August. Both threatened and burned homes. We should hope that these two major fires in our own backyard and other catastrophic wildland fires would make all of us aware of the vulnerable area we live in and the need to be ready to evacuate when ordered.

A very comprehensive website worth your time to read is Cal Fire’s www.readyforwildfire.org. This site has important information to help you and your family prepare for the threat of a wildfire and evacuation.

Other helpful local organizations and sites are the Riverside County Mountain Area Safety Taskforce: rvcweb.org/MASTPortal/Default.aspx?tabid=80. This organization has some excellent evacuation checklists and maps.

Idyllwild Fire Protection District at www.idyllwildfire.com and the Mountain Disaster Preparedness site at www.mdp-idyllwild.com also have helpful ideas. This group also operates Idyllwild Emergency at www.idyllwildemergency.com, which has updated information on local significant emergencies and road travel impacts.

Another resource for emergency information is AM 1610 radio station WNKI, which is maintained by the Mile High Radio Club at www.milehighradioclub.org. The Department of Homeland Security also has valuable information on its website at www.ready.gov/wildfires.

Also, don’t forget the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council (www.mcfsc.org). Education is the primary task of this group and it has various brochures and handouts available in the office and linked online.

Let’s not forget our pets during an emergency. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness) has very pertinent information for pet owners, as does our local Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild (arfidyllwild.weebly.com/disaster-preparedness-for-you--your-pets.html).

While we can never stress enough how important it is to do everything possible to have your home ready for a wildfire, before the threat of fire forces us to leave, use the above mentioned links to read, study and prepare for this event.

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