Coconino County has recently implemented a new program called Ready, Set, Go! designed to ensure that citizens are prepared for wildfires and other disasters. The program was initially launched in 2011 and has since been adopted by the Coconino County Sheriff and the Arizona Sheriff’s Association, as well as several local fire organizations. As a collaborative effort between local, state and federal governments, this program helps engage citizens and encourages preparedness and safety as the best way to address wildfire danger in a community.
The state of Arizona has experienced minimal precipitation and the National Weather Service has reported that the state is in moderate drought status with unseasonably warm temperatures due to persistent La Niña (ESNO) weather patterns. Low levels of moisture allow for fire to spread more efficiently, adding to the danger of the high winds the county experiences in April and May, making the threat of wildfires even greater in this upcoming spring season.
Given that the number one public safety threat in Coconino County is the potential for post wildfire flooding and debris flows, and with the overall lack of snow, the county will be at a very high risk for these threats in the upcoming months. The best way to avoid post wildfire flooding and debris flows is to take the necessary steps to minimize the potential negative effects of wildfire on you and your family, which could occur well within the boundaries of our communities, including Flagstaff. In the event of a wildfire, the Ready, Set, Go! Program provides three easy and comprehensible steps to support our residents by keeping them informed and prepared to respond:
Ready: Be Prepared
- Take the necessary steps at home to keep your house and yard safe from potential burning. This can include the trimming of shrubs or the removal of debris like dry needles and leaves from under your deck, on roofs or in the gutters and on your property.
- Subscribe to the County’s Emergency Notification System for emergency notifications, and updates on potential weather and fire threats and follow the County on Facebook and Twitter for updates.
- Encourage open family dialogue regarding fire safety. Ensure that you have discussed and planned how to react in a situation that poses great wildfire threat, and be sure to include neighbors and pets in your safety plan.
- Prepare an easily transferrable “go-kit” if you and your family need to be evacuated quickly. This can include items such as important documents and prescription medicines, as well as any emergency supplies.
Set: Be Alert
- There is significant danger in your area.
- Have access to a local news outlets or local social media accounts to ensure that you are kept up-to-date with fire and weather conditions.
Go : Act Early
- Comply with evacuation orders given by the local law enforcement, including those that regulate proper evacuation routes. Leaving in a timely manner is the best and safest option for you and your family. Always follow the instructions of emergency personnel.
Ready, Set, Go! will be implemented throughout the county via a collaboration between national, state and local fire entities. Due to the dry winter and forecasted continuation of a dry weather season in Coconino County, the implementation of Ready, Set, Go! engages citizens in the safest and most prepared way to handle adverse conditions. FBN
By Todd Whitney
For more information, visit coconino.az.gov/ready.
Todd Whitney is the emergency management director for Coconino County.