When wildfires ignite, they can spread very quickly. Preparedness now will help save lives and homes. It’s important to know how to evacuate and what to bring with you. If wildland fires are threatening your area, listen to your radio or television for reports and evacuation information. Follow the directions of local authorities.

The five Ps of Immediate Evacuation

• Pets — and livestock too

• Papers — important documents

• Prescriptions — medications, eye

glasses, hearing aids, etc.

• Pictures — irreplaceable memories

• Personal Computer — information

on hard drives and discs

Preparing for fire season

• Collect valuables, important documents, medications, and other personal items in one place and be ready to evacuate if necessary.

• What you can fit in your vehicle is what you can take. Make priorities by determining what is replaceable and what is not.

• Maintain a disaster supplies kit. This includes a first aid kit, emergency tools, a battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra batteries, car keys, credit cards, water and non-perishable food. Also consider blankets and sleeping bags.

• Determine your need to have coverings for windows and skylights to increase fire resistance. Have these coverings readily accessible.

• Have a means of transporting pets and livestock readily available.

• Make sure the needs of children and any elderly or disabled family members are met.

• Clearly post your name and address, so it can be seen from the street.

• Establish and practice a family evacuation plan and meeting location. Determine who you will notify about your evacuation. Determine where you get fire updates from reliable sources.

When a fire is nearby

• Park your vehicle facing out. Put your valuables in your car. Place the car keys where you can find them quickly.

• Dress appropriately. Wear sturdy shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a bandana.

• Confine or secure your pets to one room or area. Prepare them to be transported.

• Move all flammable furniture (including outdoor furniture) to the center of your home.

• Keep your electricity on and leave some lights on.

• Close shutters, blinds, and heavy drapes. Remove lightweight drapes and curtains.

• Close fireplace dampers and fireplace screens.

• Shut all interior and exterior doors, and leave them unlocked.

• Place a note attached to the front door stating the names of evacuees, the time and date of your evacuation, your destination, and your contact information.

• Connect a garden hose to a faucet and leave buckets of water around your house.

• Place a ladder outside for roof access.

Source: READY, from www.az211.gov

To learn more

To learn more, make plans to attend the Pine Strawberry Firewise Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18.

What you learn could make the difference between life and death for you and your family.

Sounds harsh, but it is a fact of life for those of us living in the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world and a place where a single misplaced cigarette butt or spark could ignite a catastrophic wildfire such as the Dude, Willow or Rodeo-Chediski.

Firewise Day is at the Pine Community Center, and offers homeowners and others helpful hints on how to protect their families and homes in case of a wildfire and ways to prevent one from starting.

The Community Response Team (CERT) will educate citizens about potential hazards and train volunteers in life-saving emergency skills. Also the Department of Forest and Fire Management will attend to explain their role in wildfire protection. You can get information on Gila County’s Everbridge emergency notification system. The Pine Strawberry Fuel Reduction’s Firewise trailer, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, Pine Strawberry Fire Department and a bevy of other public safety agencies will also be in attendance.

Contact the reporter 

tmcquerrey@payson.com

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