Stay Safe in Texas Forest Country: Preparing for Wildfires in Dry Conditions

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Lee Miller
Lee Miller was born in Denison, TX and grew up in East Texas with his family. He studied music education at Stephen F. Austin State University taking a job in television on his last day of student teaching. Lee also provides business authoritative expertise to the broadcast industry as a consultant. Presently he is CEO of MSG Resources LLC, which specializes in consulting within broadcast best practices, distribution technologies and media strategy mastery. - - - - - Lee Miller is a well-known veteran of the broadcast media industry with particular experience in leading for-profit and non-profit broadcasting organizations. His career began in Lufkin, Texas in the early 80’s where he progressed from studio operations to creative services and network management. Mr. Miller has since received various professional designations and memberships such as Society of Broadcast Engineers accredited frequency coordinator, The Energy Professionals Association Certified Energy Consultant, and National Religious Broadcasters Television Committee & past Chair. Lee also serves as the Executive Director of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance, is a member of the Advanced Television Systems Committee and is proud to be part of Texas Association of Broadcasters Golden Mic Club, highlighting extraordinary careers in broadcasting. Continued engagement with his community is at the core of his business practices serving on the board of the Salvation Army and as keyboardist for the contemporary worship band at Harmony Hill Baptist Church. Lee lives near Lufkin Texas on one of his family’s tree farms located in the Texas Forest Country region north of Houston. He is married to Kenla and has two grown children, Joshua, COO of MSGPR Ltd Co and Morgan, a Critical Care ICU RN.

As we embrace the radiant warmth of summer in Texas Forest Country, we’re also presented with an inherent risk: the peril of wildfires. With the region experiencing particularly arid conditions this year, the possibility of fires becomes all too real.

Wildfires, unpredictable and rapid, can leave you with little time to think, much less act. Preparedness is essential. Here’s how residents can gear up for the unexpected and have a bug-out bag ready for swift evacuation.

Understanding the Risk

In dry conditions, even a stray spark can lead to a devastating wildfire. Factors like wind, temperature, and humidity can make fires spread quickly, making it imperative for residents to be alert and ready.

Your Bug-Out Bag: Essentials for Emergency Evacuation

  1. Documents:
    • Physical Copies: Birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and other essential documents.
    • Digital Copies: Store them in a waterproof USB or external drive.
    • Emergency Contacts: List of essential phone numbers.
  2. Medications: A week’s worth of prescription medications, along with a copy of the prescriptions.
  3. Water and Non-perishable Food: At least one gallon of water per person, per day, and ready-to-eat meals like protein bars and canned goods.
  4. Clothing: A change of clothes, sturdy shoes, hats, and rain gear.
  5. First Aid Kit: Include bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  6. Cash: In case of power outages, ATMs and credit card machines may be down.
  7. Flashlight and Batteries: Opt for a wind-up flashlight that doesn’t need batteries.
  8. Multi-Tool or Swiss Army Knife: Handy for a variety of situations.
  9. Sanitation Supplies: Hand sanitizers, wet wipes, and a compact emergency toilet or waste bag.
  10. Local Maps: It’s crucial to know your surroundings, especially when main routes could be compromised.
  11. Emergency Blanket: Compact, lightweight, and designed to retain heat.
  12. Chargers: Consider solar-powered or crank chargers for phones and other necessary electronics.
  13. Radio: A battery-powered or wind-up radio to stay updated on news and emergency broadcasts.
  14. Pets: If you have pets, don’t forget about their needs. Food, water, a leash or carrier, and any medication your pet requires.

What Else Can You Do?

  • Stay Informed: Monitor local news channels and radio stations for the latest updates.
  • Follow Authorities’ Orders: If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Defensible Space: Clear dead vegetation and other flammable materials around your property.
  • Practice: Rehearse your emergency plan with all members of your household. Make sure everyone knows multiple ways out of your neighborhood.

Wildfires are a potent force, unpredictable and ferocious. But by understanding the risks, staying informed, and preparing a robust bug-out bag, residents of Texas Forest Country can ensure they’re giving themselves and their families the best chance at safety during these challenging times.

Stay safe, and let’s look out for one another as we navigate this summer in our beautiful forested region.

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