by Jasmine Han, Communications Dept. Intern

2007 Southern California WildfiresThis summer, as temperatures hit triple digits, many areas of Southern California are vulnerable to wildfires. I had my own brush with an evacuation as a result of a wildfire on Sun., June 19, when 200 firefighters were fighting an 8-acre brush fire in Silver Lake that had forced the 2 Freeway to close.

I was in Silver Lake at my cousin’s house when the fire first started.  I saw flames begin to grow on a hill across the road. Sounds of crackling fire and people screaming out for help resonated throughout the area. Residents began to trickle out of their houses to stare at the scene. Looks of confusion, distraught, and fear grew on everyone’s face as the fire came dangerously close.  We frantically combed the internet for information, but at the time, none of the news outlets were covering the story.

The only thing that separated us from the fire was the road. As we continued to watch, the fire began to spread down the hill and near the street. Helicopters flew overhead, making rounds of water drops. The neighbors immediately took action on their own. They all ran back into their homes and gathered their belongings—clothes, paperwork, and valuables. They knocked on others’ homes imploring others to leave and evacuate. Likewise, we quickly gathered ourselves and made the decision to leave as well.

While the cause of the fire still remains under investigation, it is important to be prepared for any unpredictable situations. One way is to support Red Cross’s efforts to push PrepareSoCal. PrepareSoCal is an American Red Cross initiative designed to address the needs of individuals and families in Southern California to prepare for disasters by providing tips, tools, and training. There are numerous trainings offered to engage and build  community resilience.

Please check out ways you can remain prepared for wildfires by, provided online by PrepareSoCal. This includes the actions to take before a fire, if and when a fire occurs, and what to do afterward.




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