Survey Finds Confusion About Parts of Arizona Wildfire Evacuation Notices

Two out five thought they’d receive a personal notification



FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A new survey found that many people in the Flagstaff area felt an emergency evacuation warning system widely used across Arizona is clear but that there’s some confusion about specifics.

The survey conducted by the Ecological Restoration Institute got nearly 800 responses and largely developed from a 2019 wildfire that burned nearly 2,000 acres in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

The “Ready. Set. Go” system is intended to encourage people to plan for possible evacuation, to be poised to evacuate when there’s an actual emergency and then to evacuate.

The survey researchers found that half of those who responded to the survey said the system is clear but that two of every five respondents thought that an official would personally tell them when it’s time to evacuate.

Lead researcher Catrin Edgeley said that kind of in-person notification won’t occur if a fire is moving fast and burning a large area. And there might not be a “set” notice before a “go” evacuation notice if the wildfire or other emergency is rapid.

As researcher Melanie Colavito put it, “they don’t necessarily go linearly.”

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