Disaster meeting urges wildfire preparedness


COTTONWOOD, Calif. - Are you prepared for disaster? A meeting in Cottonwood got the top emergency personnel together Tuesday to help answer that question.

The panel included Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, CAL FIRE Shasta-Trinity unit chief Mike Hebrard, interim CHP Northern Division Commander Scott Frederick, and local Red Cross disaster manager Eric Kiltz.

The most common natural disaster threatening the Northstate is wildfires, explained the group to the few residents who attended. Much of the focus centered on getting things ready before disaster strikes.

"We don't think we have a need for information until the fire breaks out two miles from our home. Then we're scattering to gather some keepsakes together - some valuable papers, our animals, and our children - and it's kind of too late at that point," said Shasta County District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh. "This is an attempt to give information up front."

Disaster struck that Cottonwood area in the form of the Clover Fire in September 2013. Zane Peterson, 29, is accused of intentionally setting the blaze. 68 homes were destroyed and more than 8,000 acres burned. The fire claimed the life of one man who chose not to evacuate his property.

Each panelist took questions and explained the steps to prepare ahead of an emergency.

CAL FIRE has much of that information on this website.

A second meeting is scheduled for Wednesday night in Shingletown. It starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Van Stellman Training Center.