RealNews

Fire lessons learned in CA

The face of evacuation procedures might be changing as a result of lessons learned from last year’s fierce wildfires in California. Fourteen fires, from Oct. 21 through Nov. 4 last year, killed 24 people, destroyed 3,710 homes, and burned 750,000 acres. In some smaller communities, evacuation orders were issued via a helicopter equipped with a loudspeaker system, recalled Thomas Cova, a researcher from the University of Utah. In the future, instead of hearing an mandatory evacuation order, residents may be given the official choice: evacuate or “shelter-in-place.” At least some research has shown that if residents are given the choice between evacuating and sheltering-in-place – that is, staying in their homes or staying in a community shelter – death tolls during wildfires are actually lower. One reason is because, if “we let people sort it out for themselves,” they might avoid unplanned, rushed and risky evacuations. Full Story

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