Yes, it is time to start thinking about the 2009 Fire Season. Because you are monitoring Citizen Voice’s SAFELY OUT™ webpage, I know you are informed about the Santa Barbara fire. A few quick statistics about the first major fire of the season:
1. Most important – it is only the first week of May!
2. The fire virtually came down into the city
3. At least 80 homes damaged or destroyed
4. 18,000 people evacuated – rich, poor, young, old
5. Evacuations included care facilities for the disabled and elderly, the American Red Cross office and the emergency operations center!
Currently, fire forecast professionals are calling for a “normal” fire season. That is good news but there is always a need to prepare as the Santa Barbara Jesusita Fire demonstrates. Here is what an expert at the National Interagency Fire Center (NFIC) said; “Whether or not we see that potential develop into another severe fire season in California depends on ignitions,” said Rick Ochoa, fire weather program manager at NIFC. “Last year we had wide-spread lightning storms move through that area and ignite multiple fires. A normal fire season does not mean there will be no fires. Also, these forecasts will be revised in the upcoming weeks. What can you do? Get familiar with your SAFELY OUT™ it and update any critical information you need if you have to evacuate. Make sure you have a family disaster plan including a communication plan and know safe routes out of your neighborhood. Also, get informed about fire safety. Here is a link to some information that will make you “Firewise”: http://www.firewise.org/fw_youcanuse/learningcenter/index.htm. Citizen Voice’s SAFELY OUT™ Project will keep you up to date on this years’ fire season and more on what you can do to be prepared.