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Be Prepared for Wildfire Evacuation in Colorado

Residents can prepare for a possible wildfire evacuation or a pre-evacuation warning by gathering important supplies and documents and making their home as fire-resistant as possible through these guidelines.

LOUISVILLE, CO - DECEMBER 30: Fire burns in bushes near a La Quinta hotel on December 30, 2021 in Louisville, Colorado. Fierce winds have whipped wildfires in Boulder County. The towns of Superior and Louisville have been evacuated. Multiple homes and businesses have burned from the fast moving fire stocked by fierce winds, with gusts topping 100 mph, along the foothills. The fire has officially been named the Marshall Fire. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
Helen H. Richardson/TNS
(TNS) - Preparing to evacuate because of a wildfire is now a year-round reality in Colorado, with destructive, deadly wildfires possible every month of the year, according to state officials.

Colorado’s “core wildfire season” is now 78 days longer than it was 50 years ago, according to the state  Division of Fire Prevention & Control, and state forest service experts estimate nearly half of all Coloradans are at risk from wildfires.

Residents can prepare for a possible wildfire evacuation or a pre-evacuation warning by gathering important supplies and documents and making their home as fire-resistant as possible through these guidelines from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado State Forest Service and Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Supplies for wildfire emergency kit or go-bag

  • Three-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food
  • First aid kit and sanitation supplies, including toilet paper and baby wipes
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio such as a NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries
  • Extra set of car keys, credit cards and cash
  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, prescriptions and a week’s supply of necessary medications
  • Important documents and phone numbers, including insurance information
  • Printed map with evacuation routes marked in case your phone dies
  • Valuables or irreplaceable items you can easily carry
  • Personal electronic devices and chargers
  • A pair of old shoes and flashlight in case of a sudden evacuation at night
  • Other items needed by your family, such as baby supplies, games and activities for children, pet supplies, two-way radios and a manual can opener

What to do during a wildfire pre-evacuation warning

  • Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice and monitor local news for updates.
  • Listen to your instincts. If you think you should evacuate even if you haven’t received an official notice, evacuate now.
  • Back your car into the garage or park it facing the direction of escape.
  • Put your emergency kit, important items and valuable papers inside your car.
  • Wear protective clothing outside, such as sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants and a shirt, gloves and a handkerchief over your face.
  • Put your pets in one room so you can find them easily if you need to evacuate.
  • Set up temporary housing at a friend or family member’s home outside of the evacuation area.
  • Close outside doors, windows and vents but leave them unlocked.
  • Close inside doors to prevent drafts.
  • Shut off natural gas or propane at the source.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside faucets and fill any pools, hot tubs, tubs, garbage cans or large containers with water.
  • Remove flammable drapes and curtains and close all shutters and blinds.
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of your home, away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Move flammable items outside your home, like patio furniture, children’s toys or firewood, as far from the house as possible.
  • Leave interior and exterior lights on so firefighters can see in smoky conditions.
  • Shut off the air conditioning and sprinkler system.
  • Disconnect automatic garage door openers so they can still be opened if the power goes out, but leave them closed.
  • Check on your neighbors to make sure they’re preparing to leave.

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