• 73°

Red Cross urges everyone to get ready for wildfire season

Dangerous wildfires across the region the past few months, including the Oronoco wildfire in April, mark an early start to wildfire season. May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, and the American Red Cross is urging everyone to plan now for dangerous wildfires and potential power outages.

“After back-to-back years of record-breaking wildfires, this year it’s more critical than ever to get ready now,” said Melanie Tschida, executive director for the American Red Cross serving southeast Minnesota.”

There are simple steps people can take to be prepared.

• Create an evacuation plan. Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Plan multiple routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.

• Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications and other items.

• Be informed. Find out how local officials will contact you during a wildfire emergency and how you will get information, such as evacuation orders.

• Download the free Red Cross Emergency app to help keep you and your loved ones safe.