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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

Wildfire Evacuation Zones are coming to a town near you


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Evacuation zones can be useful, but only when it follows public education.

We've been wondering a lot about the effectiveness of designating areas as evacuation zones to help alert about wildfire in a quick fashion. In the past, we've seen zones accompanied by a bit of description that would help to explain the geographical area that is at risk. Those seem to be a 'happy medium' where persons who know their zones can read and interpret the code; those who do not can assess some of the geographical areas at risk. In this case, we found that both the 90 and 360 character messages contained the exact same information, with no added clues about what it might mean. If a non-local received this message, we can be assured that it would be fairly confusing with the lack of details. (Also missing in this message is the message source, time, and details about the protective action). Given that the warning used so few of the 360 characters, it would be useful for the writer to include additional details or a URL that directs people to a map or other useful information for decision making. It may also be helpful to add a direction in which people should travel as they evacuate, and any information about established shelters or other gathering points for evacuees.

 

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