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Wildfire Awareness Month: TheCIL as an Disability Disaster Access & Resources Center (DDARC)

A fire burns over a bridge in california.
A fire burns over a bridge in california.

Wildfire Awareness Month: TheCIL as an Disability Disaster Access & Resources Center (DDARC)

​​(Photo from CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/09/california-wildfires-turn-bay-area-skies-an-eerie-orange.html)

The Center for Independent Living is proud to announce that we are an official Disability Disaster Access & Resources Center (DDARC), affiliated with the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and PG&E. DDAR is a collaborative, community-based effort to provide the disability communities with resources and training for disaster preparedness and scheduled Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

With May being Wildfire Awareness Month, and May to November being high wildfire season, it’s important to know how to prepare for an emergency (DDARC can help with that!) and also to understand why wildfires have been increasing, and steps we can take to reduce the increase of natural disasters.

Wildfires occur naturally when there is low humidity, dry vegetation and high temperatures. A study found that climate change and rising temperatures increase the likelihood of these listed conditions, leading to extreme autumn wildfires across California (1). Wildfires can also be caused by human-made fire outbreaks or power lines and high winds. High winds can cause tree branches and other debris to contact electric lines, sparking fires. As a precaution, PG&E schedules Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), where they monitor for severe weather and turn off power to prevent wildfires. This is a direct way of preventing wildfires from high winds, preventing climate change to reduce high temperatures, low humidity and dry vegetation takes a lot more collective action and conversation. But we also acknowledge that it impacts different communities’ daily lives differently, and that is why becoming a DDAR consumer is so important, so we can help plan an emergency preparedness plan most suited for you.

Check out how our staff and community members take individual sustainable actions to reduce their impact on climate change in our April’s Earth Month blog post. Here are some other organizations and resources to start your educational and collective action journey:

Organizations

  • Sustain Our Abilities works to conquer climate change through intergenerational community & collaboration promoting environmental justice, adaptation, mitigation, health & quality of life.
  • Sins Invalid is a Bay Area-based disability justice performance collective, and they frequently hold performances, podcasts, and trainings about the intersections of race, disability, gender, capitalism, and the climate crisis.
  • Oakland Climate Action Coalition is a cross-sector coalition dedicated to creating and implementing climate solutions that strengthen the environmental, economic, and social resilience of frontline communities in Oakland
  • Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change
  • The Red Nation’s Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save our Earth is a movement-oriented document for climate justice and grassroots reform and revolution

Podcasts and Articles

Lastly, to find out if you live in a high fire threat zone, use CPUC’s interactive map and enter your address to find out. Red zones are Tier 3 (highest fire threat), orange is Tier 2 and green is Tier 1 (least fire threat). Other resources we recommend to be wildfire ready include:

It may be too late when a wildfire or disaster hits, so act now and sign up for the DDAR program to learn about what you should pack for an emergency, figure out transportation options for evacuation routes, apply for portable batteries and more.

For more information, please contact our Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Helena Chang at hchang@thecil.org or 510-841-4776 x3103. Stay safe out there!

#DDARTheCIL #DDAR #WildfireSeason

Citation

  1. Goss, Michael, et al. “Climate Change Is Increasing the Likelihood of Extreme Autumn Wildfire Conditions across California.” Environmental Research Letters, vol. 15, no. 9, 2020, p. 094016., https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab83a7. Accessed 25 May 2022.
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