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Be Ready, Be Set, Go!

May already has given us a glimpse of the fire season ahead. With two wildfires in Jackson County already, it is imperative that we prepare before it is too late.

On May 4, 175 car, truck and trailer loads of green debris were hauled to the Valley View Transfer Station as part of Ashland’s eighth annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. I felt a heightened sense of urgency this year as we collected over twice as much material, 200 cubic yards, as last year’s clean-up day. Thank you, citizens of Ashland, for following April’s theme “Prepare Your Home” by showing up and bringing your leaves, needles and dead woody material. This is a great first step in being prepared this fire season.

As we continue through this month, the Wildfire Preparedness Campaign (info at: ashland.or.us/wildfireprep) focuses on preparing to evacuate or shelter in place. When wildfire comes to Ashland, residents need to be prepared to evacuate and help their neighbors. This means understanding the stages of evacuation and making a plan well in advance so that you know what to do if evacuation becomes necessary.

Let’s review the Be Ready, Be Set, Go! evacuation levels.

The Be Ready! level, also known as green Level 1, means you should be prepared and aware. Ashland Fire & Rescue encourages citizens to Be Ready! at all times.

The Be Set! level, or yellow Level 2, means that you must be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

The Go! level, or red Level 3, means you must leave immediately. It’s important to understand all three evacuation levels. This system may be used for any emergency, not just fires.

Having a two-week emergency kit is important not only in case of wildfires, but other emergencies, such as earthquakes and floods. Take the opportunity this month to pick up a few items every time you buy groceries. You can find a detailed list of items for your emergency kit in your Ashland Emergency Preparedness Guide (Ashland.or.us/air) or on Ashland CERT’s website (ashlandcert.org).

Information about how you can prepare to evacuate is on display at these local stores that sell supplies this month (Ace Hardware, Bi-Mart, Grange Co-op, Ashland Lumber, Ashland Food Coop and Market of Choice). There also will be information at the Tuesday Farmer’s Market at the National Guard Armory.

Last but not least, it is imperative that all Ashland residents with cellphones sign up for the Nixle alert system. This is very easy to do. Send a message to 888777 and put 97520 in the message line. If this is done correctly, you will get a message saying you are now signed up for Nixle Alerts. If you have issues signing up, please call 541-482-2770 for assistance or visit Ashland.or.us/nixle.

For more information about what we each need to do in May, please visit: https://www.ashland.or.us/wildfireprep. Working together, we can protect our homes, neighbors and community in the face of increased risk of wildfire.

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