PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is still recovering from the 2020 wildfires and the next fire season is just around the corner. 

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said it’s concerned about the abnormally dry conditions and pre-season fires the state has already seen in 2021 and is encouraging people to start preparing now. 

May is Wildfire Awareness Month and OEM is asking Oregonians to do what they can to help prevent and prepare for wildfires. 

“These are challenging times, and as we continue to rebuild after last year’s wildfires, it is more important than ever to prepare ourselves, our families and our communities against the threat of wildfire,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps.  

OEM said residents need to have an emergency plan, which includes making a list of important contacts, and knowing where to go in case of evacuation. Households should practice their emergency plans before wildfire season is in full swing. 

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management wants all residents to have a plan in case they need to evacuate due to a wildfire. Image courtesy Oregon Office of Emergency Management

Phelps also said residents should have important documents ready to put in a go back and should sign up for local alerts. 

Oregonians should also be familiar with the “Ready, Set, Go” evacuation system, which is used to notify communities that are facing a threat, or potential threat, to lives and property. 

OEM gives the following explanations for each evacuation level: 

Level 1 Evacuation means “BE READY” for potential evacuation. Community members should be aware of the danger that exists in their area and monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs, and in some cases, pets and livestock.

Level 2 Evacuation means “BE SET” to evacuate. Oregonians should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, as this level indicates there is significant danger to the area. The public should be prepared to voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family or friends outside of the affected area. They may have time to gather necessary items but doing so is at their own risk.

Level 3 Evacuation means “GO.” Leave immediately! Danger to the area is current or imminent. If a person chooses to ignore the notice, emergency services may not be available to offer further assistance. People should not stop to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect their home or shelter.

OEM encourages Oregonians to see what preparedness materials are available through their local county emergency management offices. The Red Cross also provides information on what to include in an emergency evacuation bag.