Wildfire Evacuation Plan Considerations

As CVFD Fire Chief, I am working closely with Carson Firewise Committee and CCA to put together a Carson Wildfire Evacuation Plan which we will review and revise as needed. To start with, here are some factors that I am taking into consideration for the plan:

Community and environs

We’re at 7000 ft elevation, in the middle of a 1.5 million acre national forest, designated for recreational uses, containing fuels in the form of pinyon, spruce, ponderosa, with underbrush fuel ladders that jump and set trees on fire. Around 200 residents, median average age 64 years, live on or adjacent to S Carson Rd. 

State of S Carson Rd

The road is dirt and gravel, graded a couple of times a year, and weather variable so it’s questionable whether residents can drive regular vehicles as water creates deep channels. The widest part is 19 ft where a truck can safely travel, narrowest is 11 ft. 

CVFD status

CVFD has 14 personnel (down to four people with personnel away fighting wildfires elsewhere), SUV command vehicle, 500-gal fire truck, 500-gal brush rig, 2000-gal water tender, 2000-gal dump truck for relay water drops. 

Road improvements needed

At a minimum, a fire lane has to be 24 ft wide (not including drainage etc) so two fire trucks can pass, with 100 ft turnaround every 2 miles and at the end of the road, and knox boxes across locked gates. Without improvements CVFD will be unable to do anything in the event of a wildfire. Rte 556 needs to be 24 ft wide for passing lane, firebreak, emergency services, alternative ingress/egress for residents. 

Disaster accountability

A complete evacuation list is critical, with one or two gatekeepers of the list, which will be kept private. CVFD needs the ability to send notices, and coordinate tracking of evacuation with CCA and FireWise. Bulk texting will narrow down CVFD door-to-door visits. Useful options include a drone to check if people are home and walkie-talkies, with separate channels assigned for for civilians and personnel. The goal of pre-disaster planning is: save lives, save property, save money.

We will keep Carson residents posted as we work through some of the issues. One immediate step you can take, if you have not already done so, is to send me your details for the fire evacuation contact list.

Thank you for your participation.
Scott Freeman, CVFD Fire Chief

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