Editor's Note: This blog was updated at 3:40 p.m.
Posted by: Lars Anderson, Director, Public Affairs
At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.
High Wildfire Activity Continues
Last week, we mentioned the threat of potential wildfires – unfortunately, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are all experiencing fire outbreaks that are ongoing. We continue to closely monitor the wildfire activity from our regional offices in Denver and Denton, Texas, while thousands of first responders and firefighters from local, state, federal and tribal agencies are fighting the fire on the ground to protect lives and property. Federal agencies have made approximately 5,000 firefighters available to suppress fires so far.
For the High Park Fire (Colorado) and Little Bear Fire (New Mexico), one way FEMA is supporting the firefighting efforts is through Fire Management Assistance Grants. These grants make FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs, but do not provide assistance to individual home or business owners.
Earlier this week, we also sent an Incident Management Assistance Team to the Colorado Emergency Operations Center to work side by side with state officials to monitor and support the High Park Fire fight. For more information on the federal government's role during wildfires, visit the National Interagency Fire Center website, or view their latest situation report (PDF).
If you live in an area that is currently being affected by wildfires, or an area that is susceptible to wildfire outbreaks, here are a few tips to remember:
- Follow the direction of local officials – I cannot stress this enough. Local officials are most familiar with the conditions on the ground, and any evacuation orders originate from local officials (evacuation orders do not come from FEMA). If you are told to evacuate, leave immediately.
- Be familiar with evacuation routes – Local officials will announce if an evacuation is required, and they will also have information on the safest way to leave the area. So become familiar with possible evacuation routes ahead of time, that way you will be familiar with them during an emergency.
- Stay informed of the latest developments – Stay up to date by following local news reports or updates from local officials. For example, Larimer County, Colorado have been updating this website and their @LarimerSheriff Twitter account to keep residents updated about the High Park Fire. Also, keeping your NOAA Weather Radio close by is useful for getting the latest severe weather developments.
Father's Day Gift Ideas
For all you last minute shoppers still looking for the perfect gift to give dad for Father’s Day, why not also give a gift of preparedness and get dad something that may be useful during an emergency like a flashlight with extra batteries, a NOAA weather radio or a cell phone charger for his car? In addition to a traditional gift like ties, socks or golf balls, help get your dad prepared no matter where he is -something small and creative like a keychain flashlight can be just the motivation needed to help your loved ones get prepared – if they aren’t already.
Visit www.ready.gov for more creative gift ideas.
Have a safe weekend and Happy Father’s Day!