Are Your Communities “Wildfire Ready”?

Wildfires seem to be frequently in the news these days.  States west of the Mississippi and up in Alaska seem to have experienced an unusually high number of wildfires already this year.  But wildfires can happen anywhere.  Are your water systems ready?

Did you know that EPA’s Water Security Division has prepared a Wildfire Incident Action Checklist specifically targeted toward water utilities and actions they should consider in the event of a wildfire?  The Checklist offers helpful recommendations for advance planning (develop a GIS map of system components), communications (make sure your customers understand water advisories), coordination with local agencies (know what kind of fire suppression chemicals your fire department may use and its potential impact on water supply quality), documentation (check your power requirements), and collaboration (explore joining your state’s WARN for mutual aid)?

The Checklist also provides useful resource links like FEMA’s Wildfire Preparedness link via Ready.gov; Fire Weather and Forecasting Tools from the National Weather Service; and a document titled Private Wells after the Fire – A private well owner’s guide to protecting your drinking water sources prepared by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  There are numerous other links, tasks, and recommendations included in the Checklist.

You can download a shareable version of the Checklist by clicking Wildfire Incident Action Checklist.  Please let your water utilities know about this easy-to-use tool so they can be better prepared in the event of a wildfire incident.

WSD has created checklists for use in a wide range of natural disasters – floods, droughts, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, extreme heat, and others – all designed for water utilities.  Each Checklist provides concise lists of key preparedness, response and recovery actions that can be taken, as well as valuable resources related to monitoring, forecasting and planning.  To take a look at the full array of checklists and other planning and preparedness tools such as the On-the-Go Mobile Website or the Flood Resiliency Guide, go to: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/emerplan/index.cfm#pp29

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