This past summer was one that many residents of Quincy will not forget. Having a wildfire right in your back yard is an unsettling experience. The week of Oct. 8 through 14 is Fire Prevention week and residents in the Quincy area soon will be opening their mailboxes to find a full color “Wildfire Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” Evacuation Plan publication. This next generation publication is underwritten entirely by CALFIRE SRA funds. The publication will be mailed to over 5,000 households in the Quincy zip code and has valuable information for all residents in the area.
Building on the investment already made by the Plumas County Office of Emergency Services and Plumas County GIS with pre-planned evacuation routes and maps, this project represented an opportunity to pair local evacuation planning with Ready, Set, GO! Fire prevention materials.
We quickly produced a publication containing important information in one easy-to-locate and read document. The Quincy area is the first community in the state to have this publication with their local evacuation route map in the centerfold.
“Residents of Plumas County know all too well, wildfires strike quickly and spread rapidly. In the face of disaster, preparation and planning is essential to getting families and communities out of harm’s way,” said Don Gordon, Unit Chief of the CalFire Lassen Modoc Unit.
This project has been in the works for months as a joint effort between CalFire, Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services and the Quincy Fire Department. As luck would have it, the publication was in transition to the printing office when the series of fires in the Quincy area occurred this summer.
The good news was that the agencies working on this publication had discussed evacuation routes and evacuation planning for the area, which was of great value to emergency responders. Preplanning for any emergency is key, just talk to anyone who was threatened by the Minerva Fire in Quincy this summer. It is extremely stressful when a fire is on your doorstop and you have not made any advance plans.
Within the Evacuation Plan, you will find the Quincy Community Evacuation Route map with information on main travel routes out of your area. Be sure you and your family know these main routes and make a plan with your family. The direction of travel and evacuation center may change according to fire behavior and direction of travel on the fire.
“We have Evacuation Centers identified, however, they are subject to change if they are already occupied due to current events or if they are at risk from a wildfire. It is very important to pay close attention to where the evacuation center is and the route you should take when you receive an evacuation notification.” said Nick Dawson Plumas County Office of Emergency Services Chief. There’s a good chance that you and your family would be separated when the evacuation warning goes out. Do you have a common meeting place and out-of-area phone contact that everyone can call in case of you are separated? Do you know what you would take if you got the evacuation notice?
This Evacuation Plan additionally offers residents ideas and tips on how to create defensible space to prepare their home for wildfire season. Fall is a great time to limb trees, space out plants and thin out those small trees that seem to pop up every year. They are a lot easier to remove when small.
The series of fires this past summer proved to the residents of the area to never think “It won’t happen to me.” Being prepared and having your plan ahead of time is part of living in wildfire country. The information in this guide on emergency preparedness can be used in any emergency, whether it is floods, fires or another emergency.
This map is also a valuable asset to law-enforcement and first responders; many of them are from out of the area and unfamiliar with the community when the large-scale emergency happens. Keep this publication, you can use for any emergency, in a handy place (like on your refrigerator) with your own household safety plan filled out for all members of your family.
Be prepared with the latest information for your area. Cell phone users should be sure to sign up for CODE RED — the Plumas County Reverse 911 emergency alert system to receive text, email and/or phone alerts. All landlines in the county are already in the system. Sign up at plumascounty.us. Facebook users can follow the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Quincy CHP and the U.S. Forest Service-Plumas National Forest Facebook pages. These pages were of great value to residents during the Minerva Fire to share official information and evacuation notices.