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Colorado Wildfire Evacuation: How to Prepare Before Evacuation

Colorado Wildfire Evacuation: How to Prepare Before Evacuation

Colorado Wildfire Evacuation: How to Prepare Before Evacuation

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Fire burns in brush near a La Quinta hotel on December 30, 2021 in Louisville. Strong winds have fueled wildfires in Boulder County. The cities of Superior and Louisville have been evacuated. Several homes and businesses have burned as the fast-moving fire fueled by strong winds, with gusts exceeding 100 mph, swept through the foothills. The blaze has been officially named the Marshall Fire.

Preparing to evacuate due to a wildfire is now a year-round reality in Colorado, with destructive and deadly wildfires possible every month of the year, according to state officials.

Colorado’s “prime wildfire season” is now 78 days longer than it was 50 years ago, according to the state’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control, and state forest service experts estimate that nearly half of all Coloradans are at risk from wildfires.

Residents can prepare for a possible wildfire evacuation or pre-evacuation warning by gathering important supplies and documents and making their home as fire-resistant as possible by following these guidelines from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Colorado State Forest Service and the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Supplies for your wildfire emergency kit or go bag

  • Three-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food.
  • First aid kit and sanitary supplies, including toilet paper and baby wipes.
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, such as a NOAA weather radio, and extra batteries
  • Extra set of car keys, credit cards and cash.
  • Extra glasses, contact lenses, prescriptions, and a week’s supply of necessary medications.
  • Important documents and phone numbers, including insurance information.
  • Printed map with evacuation routes marked in case your phone goes dead
  • Valuable or irreplaceable items that you can easily carry
  • Personal electronic devices and chargers
  • An old pair of shoes and a flashlight in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
  • Other items your family needs, such as baby supplies, children’s games and activities, pet supplies, two-way radios, and a manual can opener.

What to do during a forest fire pre-evacuation alert

  • Be prepared to leave at any time and monitor local news for updates.
  • Listen to your instincts. If you feel you need to evacuate even if you haven’t received an official notification, do so now.
  • Back your car into the garage or park it facing the direction of escape.
  • Keep your emergency kit, important items and valuable documents inside your car.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors, such as sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants and a shirt, gloves, and a scarf over your face.
  • Place your pets in one room so you can easily find them if you need to evacuate.
  • Establish temporary housing at a friend’s or relative’s home outside the evacuation area.
  • Close doors, windows and outside vents, but leave them unlocked.
  • Close interior doors to prevent drafts.
  • Turn off the natural gas or propane supply at the source.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside faucets and fill all pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, trash cans, or large containers with water.
  • Remove flammable curtains and blinds and close all shutters and blinds.
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of your home, away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Move flammable items outside your home, such as patio furniture, children’s toys, or firewood, as far away from the house as possible.
  • Leave interior and exterior lights on so firefighters can see in smoky conditions.
  • Turn off the air conditioning and sprinkler system.
  • Unplug automatic garage door openers so they can still open if the power goes out, but leave them closed.
  • Check to see that your neighbors are prepared to leave.

See more at The Denver Post