A unified letter to residents regarding wildfire safety

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Dear San Miguel County residents,

As the region enters a dry summer and the threat of wildfire continues, we want you, as community members, to be prepared should an emergency happen in our community.

We are appealing to you to take action to help make a difference should wildfire hit any of our communities in the future.

CodeRed Alerts:
All residents and visitors to Telluride, Mountain Village, Norwood and the county should sign up for CodeRED to receive important emergency alerts. Should wildfire evacuations occur, dispatchers would use CodeRed and geolocation to notify individuals in evacuation zones with specific instructions. You can sign up for CodeRed at bit.ly/SMCprepared.

Cellular networks may be congested during a wildfire, but text messages are more likely to go through than phone calls. Technology is not 100 percent effective and if you see smoke or flames, evacuate immediately.

BE PREPARED:
Be prepared for quick evacuations should the need arise. Together with your family or household members, plan ahead in case of wildfire:

  • Assemble emergency kit with essential personal items and documents.
  • Take time to make a list of the things you would need or want to take with you if you had to leave your home quickly.
  • Keep your vehicle gas tank full.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Learn your evacuation routes and plan to evacuate if advised by local authorities.
  • Know where you will go if evacuated.
  • Make plans for pets prior to evacuation.
  • Create a communications plan with your family.
  • Listen to local officials.

As you may know, there are very few routes into and out of both Telluride and Mountain Village and beyond, so it’s critical to make yourself aware of different evacuation routes based on your location. To learn about different evacuation routes, visit the emergency management website bit.ly/SMCprepared.

For those living in wooded areas, investigate creating a defensible space around your home to further protect your home. More information can be found at cowildfire.org. Or contact your local fire protection district.

Help Prevent Wildfires:

Most wildfires are human caused. Please also keep the following in mind as you recreate in our region:

  • Pay attention to local and regional fire restrictions.
  • Do NOT build a campfire if rules prohibit them.
  • Do NOT build a campfire in hazardous, windy or dry conditions.
  • Use fire rings or fire pits and keep fire small and manageable.
  • NEVER leave fire unattended.
  • Extinguish with water until hissing sound stops.
  • Remember: if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave!
  • Do not park on dry grass or brush.
  • Use ashtrays when smoking inside or outside.
  • Never smoke on trails.
  • Keep a shovel and fire extinguisher handy if using mechanical equipment.

The San Miguel County Emergency Management Office, your regional fire agencies, and law enforcement agencies work tirelessly behind the scenes to be as prepared as possible for any scenario, but at the end of the day, personal responsibility is crucial in keeping you and your family safe. Be sure to also visit westslopefireinfo.com for the latest fire restrictions throughout our entire region.

Thank you for taking these crucial steps into consideration this summer.

Sincerely,

Bill Masters, San Miguel County Sheriff
John Bennett, Telluride Protection District Chief
Chris Broady, Mountain Village Police Chief
Josh Comte, Telluride Chief Marshal
John Bockrath, Norwood Fire Protection District Chief
Clint Cressler, Egnar-Slickrock Fire Protection District Chief

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