How to Stay Standing in a Wildfire

How to Stay Standing in a Wildfire

As of this writing, the El Dorado Wildfire has burned over 12000 acres of land. Started by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party, this fire has killed at least eight people and destroyed at least 3,300 structures. 

This image, taken on Monday, September 7, 2020, shows fire engineer, Paul Kahler examining a melted light post. We do not know who manufactured the post, but the surviving light fixture is a Gama Sonic solar lamp. This property belonged to one of our customers, someone we may have spoken with or even met in person. Our hearts and thoughts go out to them.

Wildfire Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

We want to help you and your loved ones prepare for ultimately surviving a fire. In this article, we share tips on how to prepare for and live through a wildfire. We also want to clarify that while this image shows that our lamp head survived this fire, our lights are not fire-resistant rated. We strongly encourage you to learn and follow your local and federal regulations for building and landscaping recommendations.

Wildfires are unplanned fires that burn through natural areas and can destroy lives. In an instant, a wildfire can ignite homes and business and injure or kill people and animals. Wildfires can also cause flooding, disrupt transportation, gas lines, power access, and communication channels.

While some areas are more prone to wildfires than others, they can happen anywhere, anytime. Places that experience dry conditions and high winds have some of the most increased risks.

Wildfire Photo by Levan Badzgaradze on Unsplash
Photo by Levan Badzgaradze on Unsplash

What to do Before a Fire

Here are the best ways to prepare for a wildfire:

  • Stay connected to local and national warning systems, and monitor them frequently.
  • Make an evacuation plan that includes all members of your household, including pets and livestock.  
  • Set aside a long-term emergency supply kit and make sure it is accessible and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Include food, toiletries, clothes, PPE, medications, support for electronics, and other necessary items.
  • Keep essential documents like legal identification, insurance plans, financial data, and medical information in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Designate a “smoke-proof) room that can be closed off from outside air.
  • Consider investing in a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low in smoky conditions.
  • Always use fire-resistant materials for home and business construction and repairs.
  • Locate or install an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property.
  • Create a fire-resistant zone that encircles a perimeter of at least 30 feet around your home or business. Make sure you keep it free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials.
  • Review your fire insurance plan to make sure you have enough coverage to replace your property.
Wildfire Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash
Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

What to do After a Wildfire

Here are the most important things to remember if you find yourself under a wildfire warning:

  • Get to safety immediately.
  • Leave when the authorities tell you to.
  • If you’re trapped, call 911.
  • Listen to emergency alerts.
  • Wear N95 masks to filter toxic particles from the air.

Visit https://www.ready.gov/wildfires for more information on how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from a wildfire.

While this melted lamppost photo shows the horrific destruction the fire caused, it also indicates an element of hope. Some things are left standing. They may be damaged, and they may be forever changed, but they are still there. There is something to go back to, lives to rebuild, land to regrow. Together, we can overcome this.

Top image credit: Cindy Yamanaka/The Orange County Register/SCNG via AP

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