Last year saw the United States’ most deadly wildfire season in the past century, and the last several years have witnessed catastrophic wildfires too close to Klamath County for comfort. In 2018 Environmental Protection Agency air monitoring reports confirmed the most poor air quality days on record for the Klamath Basin, due to wildfire smoke. With the 2019 wildfire season starting, the question of whether Klamath County residents are prepared for the possibility of a wildfire is at the front of everyone’s mind. Fortunately, those in fire and emergency services across Klamath County have partnered to provide resources that allow homeowners to determine what they need to do to prepare and make their properties safer in the event of a wildfire.
This resource comes in the form of a website: www.kcrsg.org. “KCRSG” stands for “Klamath County Ready, Set, Go!”. Ready, Set, Go! is a national program that began in Southern California and is meant to be implemented during wildfire evacuations. The program works so well, though, that the State of Oregon has adopted Ready, Set, Go! as a standard evacuation model for any hazard. When Level One evacuations are ordered, residents should get “Ready” by monitoring the hazard and official information about it, as well as preparing go kits and family members in the event of an evacuation. For Level Two evacuations, residents should get “Set.” This means there is an elevated threat to your area and you should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. If you have family members with special needs or livestock and pets you may consider leaving now. If the situation escalates quickly, you may not receive another notification. In Level Three evacuations, you must “Go!” Danger is imminent and you should leave immediately without delaying to gather belongings.
The website further explains Ready, Set, Go! and provides instructional videos about how to prepare prior to an evacuation notice for wildfire, including incorporating defensible space around your home. Additionally, it allows you to search for your address to find out what the specific risk of wildfire to your home is, and to learn how to reduce that risk. Some risk reduction measures are as easy as clearing out overgrown vegetation in your yard and keeping your eaves clean, and some measures include updating your roof with a more fire-resistant system. When you make improvements to your property, you can go back into the website and enter information about the updates you’ve made, and that information becomes live for your local fire department to access, should a fire ever occur in your area. Together with our local fire and emergency services agencies, the kcrsg.org website and residents work hand in hand to make our communities safer from wildfire.
An additional resource that works cooperatively with the Ready, Set, Go! system is Klamath County’s ability to alert the public about evacuations through CivicReady. You can sign up to receive evacuation alerts from CivicReady by going to Klamath County’s website and scrolling to the CivicReady button; follow instructions to sign up for an account using your address and phone numbers. When an evacuation level is ordered for your area, you can receive alerts by phone, text, or email.
By Morgan Lindsay (Emergency Manager, Public Information Officer)