Are you ready? Officials stress importance of being prepared in case of wildfire |

Are you ready? Officials stress importance of being prepared in case of wildfire

Cheyanne Neuffer
The night sky is illuminated by the 2007 Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe.
Tribune file


You have 5 minutes or less

Change into long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, closed-toed shoes, and put on a face mask and glasses or goggles

Grab your pre-made go-bags for family and pets

Pack important documents

Passports / IDs

Social security cards

Birth certificates

Marriage certificates

Home and vehicle titles

Home inventory list for insurance

Store all of these items in one location like in a go-bag so they are easy to grab quickly.

You have 15 minutes or less

(In addition to the previous actions …)

Shut off gas at the meter and turn off pilot lights

Shut off air conditioning

Shut off propane tanks and move barbecues away from the house

Leave on all lights so firefighters can see your home in smoke

Close all windows, doors, and the garage

You have 30 minutes or less

(In addition to the previous actions…)

Move flammable furniture away from windows and doors and remove flammable curtains

Cover attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or other covering

Close or block dog doors

Prop open wooden gates that touch the house

Attach hoses to outside faucets

Leave a noncombustible ladder outside

Check on your neighbors

You have more than 30 minutes

(In addition to the previous actions…)

Grab important items that you would be devastated to lose

Photo albums


Computers and laptops

The guide recommends making an easily accessible list with these items.

For more information on preparing for wildfire, visit or

Are you ready to evacuate in case of wildfire?

Many in California and Nevada have been impacted by this summer’s historic wildfires and that should reinforce the importance of being prepared in case a blaze sparks closer to home.

Living in Lake Tahoe, a fire-prone area, residents must always be prepared for a possible evacuation. Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities helped create a guide for how people can prepare in advance and handle a high stress situation.

Officials are adamant that residents should have evacuation plans in place and ready depending on how long they have, whether it’s five or 30 minutes, or more.

Carlie Murphy, program coordinator at Fire Adapted Communities said there have been many red flag days this year and an increase of fire ignition from sources such as campfires. She says that seeing the smoke in the air along with many local resources away fighting numerous fires throughout California and Nevada, more people have been engaged and are ready to work as neighbors to prepare.

The guide stresses the importance of when evacuating a wildfire, leave as soon as possible and remember that no possession is worth a life.

“Create a plan before the evacuation,” Murphy said. “It is important for when the time comes to evacuate, it can be done immediately and effectively.”

The city of South Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue both fully support the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities Fire Evacuation Plan.

“Our community has experienced firsthand the importance of having an effective evacuation plan and the importance of knowing when to put that plan into place,” SLTFR Captain Tyler Jack said in an email. “The truth is, we don’t always know whether we have 30 minutes to systematically pack up important items and prepare our homes versus five minutes to leave with the clothes on our backs.”

Jack referenced the destruction and intensity of 2018’s Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., and said that 86 people were killed in that fire mostly because they were unable to leave in time.

“With our town being so similar to the town of Paradise, SLTFR recommends you take the necessary precautions that allow a quicker evacuation,” Jack said. “You as community members can play a huge role by leaving early and in an organized fashion. Keep in mind the rules of the road do not change in the midst of chaos. Drive safe and get out alive.”

Local officials and the local fire department will determine and give the community evacuation routes based on the fire location, behavior and the weather.

Law enforcement manages the evacuation, but knowing alternative routes in advance is important. Following law enforcements and the fire department’s directions is imperative and individuals should not return home unless given the go ahead.

Murphy says one of the most important steps is that individuals are signed up for their local county emergency notification system. This opt-in system helps people be aware of important information regarding the current emergency and will inform people that potentially need to evacuate. Sign up for your county at–Being-prepared-isn-t–Fight-fire-with-a-plan-.html?soid=1109815385789&aid=c9dzjg7tMsc.

The guide highlights three main points that include signing up for local emergency notifications, having a ‘go-bag’ ready with important documents along with essential medication.

“It is a great time for people to start working with their neighbors,” Murphy said.

She said that getting to know your neighbors is important so if an evacuation does take place, neighbors can help each other. Tahoe Fire Adapted Communities are working year around to prepare people for fire safety.

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