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Preparing for wildfires with LEPC

Blaine County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) plans for emergencies through mitigation, education, preparedness, response, and recovery. The LEPC site has vast information and guides for area responses. The wildfire education page contains important information for residents. Read below or find out more here.

Wildfires have become a common hazard in Blaine County. Some wildfires develop slowly, while others happen very quickly. Additionally, wildfires can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting the entire county. Planning for and being prepared for wildfires will help you stay safe. The LEP provides basic safety tips, as well as how to and what to do before, during and after wildfires.

Red Flag Warnings

Red Flag Warnings equals dangerous fire weather conditions are possible over the next 12 to 72 hours.

Steps to Take

  • Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

  • Sign up for local, Blaine County Emergency Alert Notifications.

  • Go to the NOAA Fire Weather Outlook Page.

  • Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the route to take and have plan of where you will go. Check-in with your friends and family.

  • Keep your car fueled, in good condition, and stocked with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

Before Wildfire Season

Make a Wildfire Plan

  • Know your wildfire risk.

  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency plans. Know where to go and how to get there should you need to evacuate.

  • Make a wildfire personal emergency plan including an evacuation plan and a communication plan.

  • Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.

  • Stay tuned to your phone alerts, TV, or radio, for weather updates, emergency instructions or evacuation orders.

Prepare Your Home

  • You can take action by preparing and protecting your home against wildfire using the Firewise system.

  • Create and maintain an area approximately 30’ away from you home that is free of anything that will burn, such as wood piles, dried leaves, newspapers, brush, and other landscaping that can burn. From 30 feet to 100 feet reduce or replace as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible and prune vegetation, create “fuel breaks,” such as driveways, gravel walkways, and lawns. Work with neighbors to create spaces up to 200 feet around your homes where vegetation is thinned to remove underbrush and tall trees do not touch each other for continuous canopies.

  • Regularly clean the roof and gutters.

  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any area of the home and fill garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water.

  • Review your homeowner’s insurance policy and also prepare/update a list of your home’s contents.

During A Wildfire

  • If there is a wildfire in the area, be ready to evacuate on short notice.

  • If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 911. Don’t assume that someone else has already called.

  • If ordered to evacuate during a wildfire, do it immediately - make sure and tell someone where you are going and when you have arrived.

  • If you or someone you are with has been burned, call 911 or seek help immediately; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.

After A Wildfire

Returning Home

  • Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch.” Check and re-check for smoke, sparks or hidden embers throughout the house, including the roof and the attic.

  • Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning. Evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Cleaning Your Home

  • Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator (dust mask) and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.

  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.

  • Do NOT use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, or to make ice or baby formula.

  • Photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.

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