We may still be stuck in the Pacific Northwest rainy season (read: October – May), but Multnomah County is already making preparations for this summer’s wildfire season.
The county, along with the Oregon Department of Forestry and local fire departments, have developed a map of local neighborhoods that will be at the biggest risk of wildfire damage come summer. The danger zones run from Forest Park on the west side of the county all the way to Powell Butte. Knowing ahead of time which areas of the county will be at most risk will help fire departments and rescue agencies county-wide better prepare for the season and coordinate efforts in areas that don’t have enough staff members to implement fire prevention programs on their own.
“Most of our fire districts, they’ve been thinking about this for a while,” Cindy Kolomechuk, a community wildfire planner with the Forestry Department, told OregonLive.com. “It isn’t very difficult to sit around and have them draw circles around particularly vulnerable areas and articulate why they’re vulnerable.”
This new map doesn’t mean that residents shouldn’t make emergency preparations of their own. The following are a few emergency preparedness tips you’ll need in the case of an evacuation.
1. Identify and remove fire hazards in your yard or property, including dead grass, low-hanging tree branches, wood piles, and dense shrubbery.
2. Pack an evacuation bag, including extra clothes, an LED flashlight or emergency LED lantern, water, and a first-aid kit.
3. Coordinate evacuation routes with neighbors and local fire departments. Figure out where/with whom you will stay if you need to evacuate and keep in touch with them if a fire breaks out near your home.
4. If you have to evacuate, don’t panic. Follow the instructions of the local fire department, get to your safe house, and let the professionals do their jobs.