SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — As Northern California approaches the two-year anniversary of the Wine Country Fire siege, the City of Santa Rosa rolling out a critical part of its plan for the next fire.
“The roads, especially up in the hills here, there really aren’t a whole lot of roads that take you out of here,” said a Santa Rosa resident named Ron. “If you had a few hundred people trying to get out of here in a panic that could be a problem.“
As of Tuesday, there is some new help with exactly that potential challenge. KPIX 5 took it for a little test drive with a resident of the Santa Rosa hills.
“Ah, a map, Montecito Heights area,” Ron said, loading up the evacuation map on a cell phone. He found it easy to locate his neighborhood, and the maps gave a few ideas of which way someone could get out.
Ron said the system could be helpful for anyone visiting the neighborhood.
“They’re at an Airbnb,” he explained. “Somebody has moved someplace recently, as a lot of people have been displaced by the fires recently this would be helpful for that situation.”
“After the Tubbs Fire, we heard a lot of good things that went well with the evacuations and some things that didn’t go so well with the evacuations,” explained Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal.
The fire department said the maps are just part of a comprehensive evacuation program. It also ties in the with the cameras that KPIX featured just two weeks ago.
“Today we’ve got much earlier detection meeting we have the ability to alert residence much earlier and then we could have here in Santa Rosa,” explained Lowenthal ahead of a city council meeting that included an update on fire safety planning.
Part of the evening’s presentation was a siren show and tell. The high-low sirens on fire and police vehicles would also be part of any evacuation, providing an alert signal for neighbors.
All of the maps, evacuation information, and a checklist for residents are something Santa Rosa residents will be hearing a lot about. The city is preparing an awareness campaign that will make sure locals know how to use the information.