Emergency preparedness is integral to a community's ability to recover from natural disasters, pandemics, and other hazards that will inevitably occur. Adaptation will be even more important in the coming years when wildfires, floods, drought, and other natural disasters are made worse due to climate change. Coconino County Emergency Management has many resources to assist the public including the Emergency Notification System, up to date Fire Information, Call Center, and Sheltering Information.
Coconino County's Emergency Preparedness Guide 2021 is a great resource for County residents to plan and prepare for emergencies and disasters.
The Coconino County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan seeks to prepare residents and policy makers for natural disasters, emergencies, and other challenges related to climate change through adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Coconino National Forest is home to the largest stand of ponderosa pine trees in the world. Over the years, due to fire suppression, it has become overgrown and unhealthy. Because fire is essential to a healthy ponderosa pine ecosystem, suppressing wildfire causes overgrowth and disease and thus, can lead to catastrophic wildfires that are devastating to the landscape. Increased drought and temperatures, more development into forested areas, and increased recreation in the forests around the County are other reasons for increased wildfire threat. Additionally, more severe weather with higher winds can result in infrastructure failure such as fallen powerlines.
Fortunately, as part of forest restoration efforts, there is a concerted effort to reintroduce fire back into the ecosystem with prescribed and resource managed fires. Thinning smaller diameter trees also helps with disease and overgrowth. Public outreach and education will hopefully mean more people becoming conscientious of the threat of wildfire. Firewise communities can save homes, buildings, infrastructure, and other long-term investments, not to mention time and money. More importantly, a fire adapted community can save lives and the natural environment.
You can prepare your home and property for wildfire by using the Ember Awareness Checklist. For those living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), it may not be possible to obtain homeowner's insurance without first taking measures to reduce the threat of wildfire consuming your home.