Clay County Emergency Management Drafting Wildfire Response Plan

By Quinn O’Hara

Recently, the Clay County Emergency Management team began drafting a wildfire response plan for all of Clay County.

The finished plan will detail what Clay County residents need to know should a wildfire threaten any part of the county.

Pam Kemp is the Emergency Management Director at CCEM, and she says a response plan is a vital part of combating potential wildfires:

Kemp notes that CCEM’s number one priority is ensuring everyone is safe and accounted for. That includes the safety of residents, the safety of first responders, and designating meeting points where officials will direct those fleeing from the fire to seek shelter.

Kemp says that even a single spark can ignite a wildfire that could burn hundreds of acres, and cited the rapidly expanding population of invasive eastern red cedar trees as posing an increased risk of a wildfire growing out of control. Kemp recalls an experience she had several years ago when a wildfire lit a stand of cedars:

At the moment the plan remains a draft, but Kemp says come the start of the new year, she anticipates she and CCEM will begin to reach out to local businesses and organizations for their input and help in finalizing the Clay County wildfire response plan. She says a plan like this needs to be a county-wide effort.

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