JOHN DAY - Should a house be threatened by wildfire, the occupants may be advised to evacuate by a fire or law enforcement official. The purpose of evacuation is to protect people from life-threatening situations.
Homeowners, however, do have the right to stay on the property if they so desire so long as their activities do not hinder firefighting efforts.
If the occupants are not contacted in time to evacuate or if the owners decide to stay with their homes, they should evacuate, if possible, all family members not essential to protecting the house, as well as pets. Contact a friend or relative and relay plans. Establish a meeting place. Tune into a local radio station and listen for instructions. Place vehicles in the garage, pointing out, with the windows rolled up. Place valuable papers and momentos in the car. Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked. If applicable, disconnect the electric garage door opener so the door can be opened manually. Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage. Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter. Avoid wearing nylon or flammable materials. Close all exterior vents. Make sure that all garden hoses are connected to faucets and attach a nozzle set on "spray." Soak rags, towels or small rugs with water to use in beating out embers or small fires. Inside, fill bathtubs, sinks and other containers with water. Outside, do the same with garbage cans and buckets. Remember that the water heater and toilet tank are available sources of water. Close all exterior doors and windows. Close all interior doors. Leave a light on in each room. Keep wood shake or shingle roofs moist by spraying water. Do not waste water. Consider placing a lawn sprinkler on the roof if water pressure is adequate. Do not turn on until burning embers begin to fall on the roof.
For more information, contact the Oregon Department of Forestry at 575-1139 or visit the agency's Web site at www.odf.state.or.us.