Hello, Healdsburg. The start of summer means long, light-filled days, family vacations and hot weather. It also heralds the advent of another wildfire season and with the current drought situation, it’s even more dry than usual. Here’s what we’re doing to help our community — and here’s what you can do — to prepare for disasters such as wildfires.

Jeff Kay

Jeff Kay

Wildfire Mitigation Work

Over the past few months, our fire department has been working with other local agencies and COPE and other neighborhood groups to cut back vegetation (potential fire fuels) in and around Healdsburg. This work includes prescribed burns and other wildfire mitigation work in and around Fitch Mountain, the Healdsburg Ridge Open Space, as well as at Lake Sonoma.

Homeowners in Healdsburg are also responsible for cutting back weeds, dead tree limbs and other potential fire fuels on their properties. Our fire department began inspecting properties for weed abatement in July. Please trim limbs at least six feet off the ground and cut back other ladder fuels, such as tall grasses and shrubs, as they allow a fire to climb up from the ground into a tree canopy.

For more information on how to make your home and property more fire-safe, please go to: www.readyforwildfire.org/. If you have questions about the city’s weed-abatement inspections, please email Fire Marshal Linda Collister at lcollister@cityofhealdsburg.org.

June 5 Fitch Mountain Evacuation Drill and Evacuation Zones

In addition to our wildfire mitigation work, we collaborated with Sonoma County’s Department of Emergency Management, the Sonoma County sheriff and community groups on a full-scale, voluntary evacuation drill of Fitch Mountain on Saturday, June 5. This exercise was similar to the 2019 Mill Creek evacuation exercise.

At least 110 Fitch Mountain residents registered for the June 5 exercise, which started around 8 a.m. That’s when Sonoma County sent out a SoCoAlert to participating residents’ phones and the Sonoma County activated their Hi-Lo sirens. Community members then drove their vehicles in an orderly fashion on their evacuation routes to the community center, which served as the temporary evacuation center for this exercise.

Once at the community center, participants and other community members had the opportunity to attend an emergency-preparedness resource fair, which included the American Red Cross and the HALTER Project, which helps animal owners and their animals in emergencies.

Evacuation Zones and Emergency Preparedness

Did you know that Healdsburg has new evacuation zones? We worked with Sonoma County to create a new evacuation-zone map, which can be found here: ci.healdsburg.ca.us/460/Emergency-Services

We also created an address look-up tool: tinyurl.com/COHEvacLookup

You may note that we did not include evacuation routes. That’s because your evacuation route depends on where you live and the location of the disaster. Consequently, we recommend mapping out several different evacuation routes — to the north, south, east and west.

Do you have an emergency go-bag ready to go for each member of your household? How about a family communications plan? And how are you keeping important documents safe in case you need to evacuate? These are just a few of the “to-do” items on your emergency preparedness checklist.

Need some help? We have a 16-page emergency-preparedness brochure, available in both English and Spanish, that you can print out or download onto your mobile device or computer. You can find it at: bit.ly/EmgPrep

Jeff Kay is the Healdsburg City Manager. To submit ideas or questions for this column, email cityscape@ci.healdsburg.ca.us.

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