Wildfires show importance of backup plans
Blazes knock out cellphone service, roads in parts of California
It doesn’t seem possible, yet once again, another state is facing a dire scenario.
In California, at least 15 people are dead and more than 100 people injured amid wildfires whipping across the state. More than 200 people are reported missing, and about 20,000 people have been evacuated.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as at least 17 wildfires burned out of control.
Complicating matters was the damage to infrastructure. The Associated Press reports that Sonoma County established a hotline to help connect family members, noting that many who have been reported missing may be safe, but can’t be reached because of the “widespread loss of cellphone service and other communications.”
In many ways, we’ve become spoiled with our instant communication on cell phones. We send off a quick text (Are you OK?) and within seconds, we expect a reply — and usually, we get one.
Yet these massive, aggressive wildfires are breaking down that communications ability.
The AP also reports that people who tried to flee found some roads blocked, and others packed with intense traffic.
This is a particularly striking statement. If we were in crisis mode, trying to escape, we would turn to our cellphone, pull up Google Maps, and look for the best way out. A longtime area resident would know the possible roads to take, and the best ways to evacuate. But what if it was a new resident or a visitor?
But what would you do, Yuma, if your exit route was blocked by flames, and your cell phone was out of commission?
That is a realistic scenario people faced as they tried to flee wildfires in California, and it’s terrifying to consider.
We rely so heavily on those cellphones, but extreme disasters such as this remind us of the importance of having backup plans, just in case.
The situation in California is far from over. Winds are expected at least through tonight, and as of Tuesday afternoon, none of the fires were under containment. However, aerial photos show streets that have been stripped of their homes and buildings.
Our thoughts are with Californians as they face these wildfires. Unsigned editorials represent the viewpoint of this newspaper rather than an individual. Columns and letters to the editor represent the viewpoints of the persons writing them and do not necessarily represent the views of the Yuma Sun. Editorial