Planning | Prepare | If Fire Approaches | Evacuation Plan
Cambria Area Evacuation Map | Prevention & Safety
With many homes and businesses surrounded by trees and brush, Cambria is at high risk for a wildland fire. All it takes is the right combination of weather, carelessness or arson for a small fire to erupt into a major wildland fire that could destroy beautiful Cambria. To ensure that Cambrians have the best chance to evacuate in a major fire event, we are providing detailed evacuation information in the following web pages.
Please review all the material carefully, print it out with the evacuation maps, and develop your own personal evacuation plan. The peace of mind that will come from knowing you're prepared will give you, your loved ones, and pets the greatest opportunity to survive a major fire.
Planning Is Up to You
We have all seen TV coverage of millions of people in Louisiana and Texas trying to evacuate on clogged freeways and roads. Some of us wonder if that could happen here?
News reports from California show residents in convoys being led to safety from endangered areas. There, firefighters are able to anticipate the need for evacuation hours and possibly days ahead of the arrival of a wildland fire.
This convoy evacuation probably will not happen in Cambria because our greatest fire threat cannot be anticipated far enough in advance. Our Cambria nightmare fire scenario might begin with a residential fire in a house surrounded by brush and trees. On this particular day it is dry and windy. The fire spreads to the brush and then to the trees and a crown fire rapidly spreads the fire. The crown fire could burn over a large area such as Lodge Hill in a couple of hours. Downwind of the fire a wind-driven rain of hot embers extends for a mile and starts multiple residence fires that in turn spread to close by neighbors. In this scenario, there is not enough time for emergency services to organize evacuation of neighborhoods.
Everyone in Cambria needs to organize their personal evacuation plan. If you live in a house overhanging a steep brush filled canyon you might decide that immediate evacuation is warranted in any fire threat scenario. If you live in a fire-safe house in a cleared area you might decide to "shelter-in-place," stay in your home. If you live in a house with a defensible space deep in the forest you might plan to stay in your house until the front of the firestorm had passed and then evacuate.
Everyone needs to assess their personal situation and make a firm plan and prepare for a wildfire. Being able to evacuate within minutes may mean the difference between life and death. The worst plan is one that results in you being in your car in a traffic jam in a burning forest.
Please study the evacuation planning guides and maps on this website. If you don't have a copy of the FireSafe Council's brochure “Living With Fire,” obtain one from the Cambria Fire Station. We urge you to do your homework and be prepared!
Preparing for a Fire
- Decide if you will evacuate or stay in your house if a wildfire occurs in your area. Read the page about Fire Safe or Prone? Make your house as defensible as possible. Create as much defensible space around your home as you can.
- Identify other routes to or from your house and mark them with a yellow marker on the maps you can download. Place copies of the map in your vehicles. Your usual route to or from your house may be blocked by fire, emergency vehicles, downed power lines, etc. Find alternatives! Your life may depend on them.
- On the maps you place in your vehicles, write the cell phone and telephone numbers of friends and family. Identify a friend or relative out of the area to serve as a message center for you. Give a copy of the list to everyone in your residence to carry in their purse/wallet. Find out how to use a friend's answering machine as a message center.
- Connect garden hose with nozzles to faucets.
- Decide on a place to meet members of your household if you are separated at the time of a wildfire. Home or a house of a friend? The Cambria Veterans Hall, Cambria Grammar School, and Coast Union High School are evacuation shelters.
- Assemble important documents and keepsakes you would want to save into one spot. The speed of an approaching fire may not allow time to hunt for things you want to take. If you could only evacuate one armload of personal items, what would they be?
- Make a plan for evacuating your pets. Have pet carriers or cages readily available. You wouldn't want a wild, terrified pet in your car.
- Practice your evacuation. Drive the routes you identified in #2 above. Practice loading pets, etc. in your car.
- Read the sections in your phone book on preparing for emergencies.
Cambria Area Evacuation Plan
Cambria Area Evacuation Map
- Prepare a family evacuation plan for all types of emergencies. Include a contingency plan for evacuating your animals.
- Establish a meeting place and a plan in case family members are in different locations when an emergency occurs.
- Have disaster supplies available near a door accessible from outside your home or business.
- Rotate supplies every year.
- If you remain in your home during a wildfire, ensure you have the proper clearance around your home and a defensible, fire resistive structure.
If a Wildfire Approaches
- Tune in Emergency Alert System on any local radio or TV Station.
- Park vehicles in garage facing outward. Put keys, valuables, important documents and essentials, such as medications, in your vehicle. Disconnect garage door opener by pulling knob hanging from drive track. (Power may be off when you have to leave.) Manually close garage door. Leave your vehicle motor off.
- Place pets in a pet carrier or pet cage. They will become frightened quickly and may run away or become uncontrollable.
- Close shutters, windows, heavy drapes, interior doors, and fireplace damper.
- Remove thin drapes, furniture and other combustibles near windows. Heat from fire outside of a window can ignite combustible items inside the house.
- Move all flammable deck furniture and plastic garbage, recycle and green waste bins away from house or into garage. They might be ignited by raining embers from the fire. A recycling bin full of paper alongside a house could become a torch, which would ignite the structure.
- If you have a ladder, place it up to roof. The fire personnel will use yours rather than take time to unload their own if there are multiple house fires.
- Turn on outside lights and leave some inside lights on. In Cambria, fire personnel might overlook houses in the forest at night if they cannot see them.
- Wear cotton clothes to protect you from burns and falling embers and a dry bandana for your face. Synthetic clothes can catch fire from flames and embers. Cotton does not ignite as easily. Wear enclosed shoes to protect your feet.
- Citizens may be notified by fire personnel and/or law enforcement personnel if evacuation is necessary.
- Safely make your way out of the area. If unable to evacuate completely, go to the closest Safe Refuge Area (see map).
- The Red Cross will establish evacuation centers.
- If evacuated, contact the Red Cross to provide information about your status so that family or friends can be informed.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you feel unsafe, don't wait. Follow the checklist items and get out.
For additional information, contact the
Cambria Fire Department at 805-927-6240.