Wildfires continue to blaze across much of northern and southern California and into parts of Arizona. Long-term drought and hurricane-force winds have combined to create extraordinarily dangerous fire conditions for thousands of residents and local businesses. Last Tuesday, the recently contained Getty fire near Los Angeles prompted the National Weather Service to issue its first-ever extreme red flag warning when Santa Ana winds threatened to fan the flames with 70- to 80-mph winds. Even with the Getty fire contained, a new nearby fire took its place and grew 9,000 acres overnight threatening hundreds of homes and families. In Northern California, over 200,000 people have been displaced thanks to the Kincaid fire that has burned nearly 80,000 acres and is currently around 65% contained.
For those living and working in and around these areas, preparation and vigilance are key. Natural disasters require a massive influx of local and visiting fleet vehicles. From first responder fleets to hospitality vans to utility trucks, each respective fleet manager is burdened with the heavy responsibility of keeping their workers and vehicles safe. Here are some links and resources to help fleet managers stay prepared, flexible, and ready to face the unexpected during this wildfire season.
Preparation is Essential
If you haven’t created a natural disaster preparedness plan, now is the time. Make sure your drivers know where to report in case of emergency. During wildfires and other natural disasters, normal channels of communication – along with other vital utilities like power, water, and wi-fi – may be interrupted. Your preparedness plan should account for this and provide alternatives. Your plan should also provide procedures for before, during, and after the natural disaster event. For more information on how to create a natural disaster preparedness plan, please read our blog, How to Prepare Your Fleet for a Natural Disaster.
Wildfires are unpredictable. They can change direction and travel at high rates of speed under the right conditions. If at all possible, it is best to keep your fleet vehicles in a safe location and off the road. For many fleets, this is not an option. Here are a few resources to keep fleet managers and drivers up to date with wildfire conditions as they develop:
- For active incident maps, wildfire containment progress, and many additional resources, go to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
- For resources related to recovery and assistance, visit California Wildfire Resources.
- CNN’s extreme weather page is updated regularly on wildfire conditions and full of helpful information.
- The Weather Channel provides hourly updates, interactive maps, road conditions, and plenty more wildfire-related resources.
For a more comprehensive list, visit WEX Fleet’s Wildfire Information & Resources page.