I fancy myself as a Truckee community advocate. In that self-appointed role, I am passionate about defensible space, fire safety, risk reduction and community protection.
After experiencing firsthand a wildfire that threatened my home and standing on my roof with a hose, I have learned that most folks don’t believe it can happen to them.
Trust me: It can, and the fire agencies are telling us it will.
I cannot believe what I see when driving through our local communities. Let me start with Martis Valley Road. I see pine needles accumulated on roofs, I see flammable materials piled against homes and un-cleared properties. Do these folks think the fire district will save their home?
Let’s see, we have thousands of homes in our community and a limited number of fire personnel. What property do you think the fire districts will defend; the property where the owners did everything possible to build defensible space, or those who have not?
Next, let’s take a look at the Henness Flats Apartments. I saw pine needles accumulated on some of the roofs the other day. These observations are just the ones I made last week. You’ve got to believe these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Everyone needs to take this seriously. Don’t be lazy, and don’t be in denial. My family has made an emergency evacuation plan.
It goes something like this: We determined our evacuation plan based on the number of days, hours or minutes of notice we might have. We have agreed on a meeting place if we can get there.
Everyone should know the needs of their family and prepare accordingly. Some of the things you should think about: water, medications, eye glasses, clothes, important papers (put them all together in a place easy to get to), irreplaceable treasures (if you have space and time), blankets and snacks. Make sure you can be self-sufficient for several days.
I am encouraged by what my family and some of my neighbors have done to protect not only ourselves but others as well.
It is clearly not enough, but I would hope everyone in this community will get on board and become believers as I am.