Parts of Oregon are already heading into wildfire season and given the serious season that Oregon, and other parts of the West Coast, experienced last year, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management offers an important reminder about evacuation levels. The statewide “Ready, Set, Go” system is used to notify communities that they are facing a threat and are used for floods, fires and other hazards.
“An important part of wildfire preparedness is familiarity with statewide evacuation levels,” says OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “Wildfires can come without warning and move quickly, so residents need to prepare now in case they have to leave their home.”
- Level 1 Evacuation means “BE READY” for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.
- Level 2 Evacuation means “BE SET” to evacuate. You should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice as this level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.
- Level 3 Evacuation means “GO” Evacuate NOW – leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuate immediately. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available to assist you further. DO NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.
OEM partners with the Department of Forestry, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Keep Oregon Green and other state agencies each year to promote wildfire awareness and preparedness, and urges all Oregon communities to always follow directions of emergency officials during evacuations.
“We want to make sure every Oregonian is safe this fire season and that you are prepared for any hazard we face,” says Phelps.
From The NWS Medford:
Fire season begins for the southwest Oregon fire district today! Siskiyou County declared fire season on May 20th, and Modoc County declared on May 27th. So most of our entire forecast area has now entered fire season. There are three things you should do as soon as possible:
1.) Now is the time to replenish your emergency supply kits, or make them if you haven’t. More information is available on https://www.ready.gov/
2.) Identify multiple evacuations routes in case you need to evacuate with a moment’s notice. You’ll be glad you already know where you’re going and how to get there instead of having no idea where to go when you’re panicked.
3.) You should be following agencies like Oregon Department of Forestry, Calfire Updates or local emergency management like Jackson County Emergency Management (as an example) for where you live. They will give the official evacuation information when it becomes time.
Let’s hope for a quiet fire season, but remember, it only takes one fire to cause a catastrophe. It’s better to be safe, than sorry.