Here are some questions and answers that El Dorado County FD Fire Marshal Brandon McKay passed along via email to Oak Hill area neighbors who attended an August 2018 neighborhood fire safety meeting. These are things to consider when making plans (Q&A paraphrased):
Question: What do you think of the suggestion to go to a wide-open space to wait for rescue?
Answer: Don’t do that! We have a procedure where we can evaluate conditions and do a shelter-in-place if conditions allow. If you leave your house, we will not know where you are, and fire conditions can drastically change. You will be left to the elements with no protection or safety gear. VERY BAD SITUATION.
Comment: There are times when it is not safe to remain in your house. You will need to use your best judgement. There are also times when it is not feasible or advisable to evacuate using crowded roads with fire approaching fast.
Question: We have one-way in and one-way out. If the main road is not passable, should I take a back way out? This might entail breaking through some gates, traveling over very rough roads and crossing streams.
Answer: If you’re in a dire situation, do what you have to do. This can be potentially deadly if you are going across unimproved roads/fields. Your vehicle can become stuck leaving you stranded in the way of the fire. Also, your catalytic convertor and muffler are very hot and can ignite brush behind you causing another fire to start. Once again, you will be out in an area where we don’t know where you are. If we don’t know where you are, we can’t help you.