Study looks at fire vulnerabilities in Reno and other western places

RENO, NV (KOLO) - Pictures show the remains of the town of Paradise after the Camp Fire ripped through the area last November.

PHOTO: A firefighter securing an active area of California's Camp Fire, Photo Date: 11/15/2018

More than 80 people died in the fire.

Most of the damage occurred in the first four hours of the blaze.

“There are a lot of similarities between what the study identified as risk factors to what we have here locally in the region,” says Chief Charles Moore with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. “So there is applicability from that study to us,” he says.

That study from the Arizona Republic and the USA Today looks at the factors which contributed to this devastating fire.

Burnable land inside the town's boundaries is one of those factors.

But the report did more.

It looked at 15,000 western communities and found 526 of them had some of the same vulnerabilities or worse than Paradise had.

One of those vulnerabilities includes evacuation constraints. During the Camp Fire more than 1,800 residents tried to escape using six routes out of town.

Of those who died in Paradise the median age was 75 years old.

The report looked at Reno's vulnerabilities, too. It shows our city's aging and disabled communities are just below the median.

That is a problem when it comes to emergency evacuations.

Reno has well above the median number when it comes to English proficiency, and mobile home living.

According to the report, mobile homes burn faster and their building materials can easily spread ambers and fire to adjoining residences.

Emergency agencies who send out alerts may not be understood by everyone here.

On the whole, these vulnerabilities can be changed over time.

Chief Moore says until then, it’s time to take personal stock.

“I can't compel people to go practice that. But you really need to. You need to know what is your secondary way out of here. Practice your route to get out,” says Chief Moore.

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