Drills, Firefighting, Wildland Firefighting

The Importance of Wildfire Evacuation Drills to At-Risk Communities

Issue 3 and Volume 172.

By KEVIN CASHMAN    American firefighters will soon see the gear-up to another season of wildfire suppression across the country. The old adage that wildfire fighters will “tell you how the season was once it is over” will always hold true. However, if 2019 follows the formula of the previous two years, firefighting agencies from federal, state, and local municipalities will be busy. The year 2018 was above average for acres burned,1 and crews from all four corners of the country “got after it”; this is becoming more and more common. (1) Firefighters gather information from civilian evacuees during a planned wildfire evacuation drill. (Photos by author.) Wildland firefighting in the wildland urban interface (WUI) poses unique challenges for firefighters year-round. This challenge increases significantly when a rapidly growing wildfire threatens large numbers of occupied structures. Arguably, this is one of the top instances in wildfire suppression where engagement risk…

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