Evacuation Alerts

This post looks at tools for wildfire safety, focusing on evacuation notices. There are a variety of terms associated with evacuation, and that can be confusing, especially at a moment when you need to act fast. Familiarizing yourself now with the terminology and resources will help if you ever need to evacuate quickly and confidently.

This isn’t an issue just for those residents in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), where forests may be next to homes. Fires can sweep through any area. Images of city blocks wiped out by fire have become common in the news in recent years. Learning from my own evacuation experiences, and looking back at what I wish I had packed or not bothered with, has guided my actions in similar situations and my planning for the future. Preparation allows you to prioritize the things that matter most. It gives you time to sign up for alerts and determine what you need to be prepared. Once those you love are accounted for, a “GO! kit” and a plan are your most important tools.


Level 1- READY    Possible evacuation in your area. Be aware of the danger in your area and start preparing to evacuate.

  • Monitor local media and check on neighbors
  • Update your GO! kit
  • Review your plan – check evacuation routes and shelter locations
  • Prepare both the inside and outside of your home
  • Leave if you feel unsafe

Level 2- SET     Short notice evacuation likely in your area. Evacuation Warning-Be prepared for sudden evacuation.

  • Ensure your evacuation checklist is complete
  • Ensure your GO! kit is in your evacuation vehicle
  • Continue to monitor local media
  • Leave now if you feel unsafe or need extra time

Level 3- GO!      Evacuation Order- evacuate immediately from your area. Extreme Danger. Leave Now!

  • Follow directions from law enforcement or fire departments
  • Do not return home until officials have determined it is safe and orders are lifted. Even if the fire is no longer a threat, conditions such as impassable roads or damaged utilities may make it unsafe to return.

Two important things to remember:

  • There will not always be a warning- your first alert may be a Level 3-GO!
  • Fires can spread and change quickly. Please don’t wait for an alert. If you do not feel safe, evacuate immediately.

For additional updates on wildfires in the area:

Current Wildfire Incident Information | WA – DNR

Live fire camera feeds AlertWildire.org

Smoke and fire conditions  WASmoke.blogspot.com

Sign up for Alert King County