Residents Warned to Prepare to Evacuate in Case of Wildfires

Despite Cal Fire warning people in Lakeside to be ready to evacuate, locals don’t know whether they will. NBC 7’s Rory Devine reports

(Published Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017)

A red flag warning in San Diego County has been extended through Saturday and a risk of wildfires breaking out Thursday is extreme.

Cal Fire officials said the fire conditions in the county are not unprecedented--they are much like the conditions in the 2003 and 2007 wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes.

But they are advising residents to be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice, should a wildfire spark.

NBC 7 spoke to some residents in Lakeside Wednesday, many of whom lived through the Cedar Fire in 2003.

If firefighters gave the order to evacuate would they go?

Rebecca Coplin told NBC 7, the Cedar fire came close too her family’s home and they stayed to fight it. But she said she would not do it again.

"I have a baby, I have kids. I just wouldn’t do it. My stuff would be packed," Coplin said.

Resident Henry Martens is not so sure. He said his father-in-law stayed to protect his home in 2003 and was able to save it.

Martens said

"I don’t know if I would evacuate or not, I would have a hard time doing it, Martens said. "I would do it if [the fire] got too close."

But time could be of the essence.

Cal Fire Captain Jon Heggie said,

"Thursday, we are looking at a potential for Santa Ana winds to blow in excess of 30 miles per hour, and up to 80 miles per hour," said Cal Fire Captain Jon Heggie. "That’s hurricane force winds. The reality is if a fire were to start, it’s going to spread extremely fast. People’s evacuation time will be limited if any at all."