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June 03, 2015
Totally Ready for Anything
Fire at your Backdoor, Part 2
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Now that you have prepared your home, family and neighborhood for a fire, what do you do when that awful day comes and there is a fire at your back door?

When Wildfire Threatens

If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, listen to your radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials immediately. While you wait for the order to evacuate:

If Advised to Evacuate, Do It Immediately

Survival in a Vehicle

This is very dangerous and should only be done in an extreme emergency, but you can survive a firestorm if you stay in your car. Out-running a firestorm on foot is almost always impossible.

If You are Trapped at Home

Stay calm. As the fire front approaches, go inside the house. You can survive a fast moving wildfire, but this should always be a last resort and never your first choice!

What to Do After a Wildfire

It is so important to research the risk of wildfire in the area you live. We have lived in our community for 20 years and have not seen a wildfire here, except for grass fires on neighboring farms that were quickly put out by our fire department. No headlines here.

But those who have lived in our town longer than us remember a fire that swept through the river bottom areas that adjoin our town (less than a mile from our neighborhood), which created real fear and panic that it would spread to neighborhoods and burn the city.

So, even if there is not a recent memory of such events, that does not mean the danger is diminished, but may in fact mean the risk has quietly grown worse with years of new undergrowth in wilderness areas, while residential areas have encroached deeper into that wilderness.

The time to clear a fire break between our home and the path of a wildfire is now. Preparing home and family must also be done now, and not later. At its root, this takes spiritual as well intellectual commitment. As an American evangelist once said: “Heaven is a prepared place, for a prepared people.”

Like judgment day, a wildfire emergency offers no postponements, and no deferments. When smoke and flames approach, it is too late to do any more than implement the preparations we have already put in place, keep a cool head, and trust in the Lord.

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