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Editor’s Note: This blog post appears on campcolorado.com, which is hosted by the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association, and features tips on how to avoid and prepare for wildfires. 

If your Colorado vacation winds up involving the unexpected drama of a wildfire, this knowledge and understanding, coupled with prudence, will assist you in being prepared to get out of the path.

Always:

  • Provide the office staff with the accurate size of your party, including day visitors. They will need to know who to account for when emergency conditions erupt.
  • Know the whereabouts of individuals in your party.
  • Make sure campfires are allowed before you light one, even if a fire ring is already in position at the campsite.
  • Don’t leave a lit campfire unattended.
  • Don’t let the flames dance too high and don’t burn things that create sparks.
  • Pull vegetation away from the fire ring before lighting the fire.
  • Pay attention to what you see and smell.
  • Report conditions you witness that could spark a wildfire (someone carelessly discarding a lit cigarette or creating a campfire when you’ve been told otherwise).
  • Keep matches out of the hands of children.
  • Be alert to your escape route, understanding that it might not be the way you arrived.

If you’re on an evacuation warning, plan according:

  • Locate your car keys, maybe even leaving them in the ignition.
  • Charge your mobile devices.
  • Put the following items into your vehicle:
    • Credit cards and cash
    • Emergency supply of food and water
    • Protective clothing: sturdy boots, long pants, gloves, and handkerchief
    • Blankets and sleeping bags, one of each per person
    • Your medicines
    • Basic personal care items
    • A change of clothing per person
    • Flashlights and plenty of batteries
    • Extra set of eyeglasses
    • Family documents (i.e., title to RV, if it’s stored in the RV)
  • Position your vehicle facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine your pets so you can quickly grab them (have their supplies ready to go, too).
  • Close your RV’s windows, doors and vents.
  • Turn off pilot lights and turn off the propane at the tank.
  • Turn off the water to the RV.
  • If you choose to evacuate before the mandatory orders are given, notify the camp office so they’re not needlessly searching to notify you of the upgraded orders.

When you’re told to evacuate, quickly and safely:

  • Grab your mobile devices and charges.
  • Put your family and pets into the vehicle … don’t dally!
  • Drive at a safe speed.
  • Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the wind, fire and smoke.
  • Heed the directions of the authorities.

Click here to learn about creating an emergency kit.

Click here to learn more wildfires safety tips.

Click here to read our blog post called Colorado Campfire Reality.

Click here to find an RV park or campground. Don’t let this blog deter you from vacationing in Colorado. Millions create fabulous Colorado camping memories every year, without incident. Knowledge and understanding are meant to offer comfort, not fear!