6th Graders on the Ridge Learn About Wildfire Safety

Aug 28, 2012 9:49 PM

As smoke makes its way down onto the ridge from surrounding wildfires, communities like Paradise and Magalia are reminded that emergency preparedness is a vital part of living in a rural area. Since 2005, 6th graders on the ridge have been learning about wildfire safety through a program developed by the Butte County Fire Safe Council. Students are taught about defensible space and ways to protect their homes. They are also given maps and asked to create an evacuation plan for their families.

Markoa Goble, a 6th grader at Paradise Intermediate School, says, "I'm from Virginia and we didn't really have a lot of wildfires (there). I had no idea what any of this was and now I know. I think it's so important living here in Paradise to know what to do."

One thing that teachers on the ridge are really trying to instill in their students is that a wildfire could hit near their home at any time, and they need to be ready at a moments notice. 6th grader Dominic Wiggins knows all too well the threat of wildfires. His home was destroyed in the Humboldt Fire of 2008.

"I remember it being very smoky and I was kinda scared. I wasn't used to anything happening like that," he says.

Teachers are hopeful that the lessons they pass on will leave a lasting impression, and help students in crucial situations when it's needed most.

Greg Holman, a teacher at Paradise Intermediate, says, "It's so much better than any kind of textbook lesson because they've lived it. They remember where they had to evacuate. They remember having to get their pets. They remember not knowing where the fire was or what was happening."

After going through the class, students like Dominic know that if a fire does threaten his home again he'll be ready.

"I would remember that I've been through this before; that I would know what to do. I wouldn't be as scared," says Wiggins.


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