The rest of the country is watching as the massive "Wallow Fire" burns in eastern Arizona, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents and threatening homes. Two more large fires are still burning in the southernmost area of the state and officials are taking precautions including closing access to the Coronado National Forest.
In the face of what appears to be looming disaster, what can we do? I've got several "dos" depending on where the fire is relative to your home:
- DO: Listen to your local fire authorities (and to your gut instinct). If they tell you to leave, do it. Your home can be replaced but you only get one life.
- DO: Take time to prepare your home if you have not been ordered to leave. See the "Wildfire Approaching" widget on Firewise.org for tips on what you can do in the short-term. Little things can make a big difference.
- DO: Make sure your loved ones know your whereabouts and status if you must leave your home. If you use Facebook or Twitter, post your status to friends.
- DO: Talk to neighbors about their plans. You may be able to work together to take some last-minute precautions or evacuate more easily.
And one big "DON'T":
- If you live in an area that's not currently affected, don't wait for smoke to appear on the horizon. Visit the Firewise.org to learn what you can do now to prepare your home for wildfire season.
Photo Credit: Eastern Arizona IMT