GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Wildfire after wildfire is wreaking devastation across the Front Range, with about a hundred homes burned and thousands of residents evacuated.
It was just last year that the town of DeBeque was faced with a similar situation, reminding us all how important it is to be prepared.
Wildfires are forcing thousands to flee. People are given just a few minutes to collect what they can before leaving home for possibly the last time. Still, officials say residents who are constantly at the ready with a few important items and documents stand a better chance of getting their life on track faster.
"A 72 hour kit, it takes care, it's an evacuation bug out bag that people can pick it up, take it, evacuate out of their home if they have to, especially with the wildfire," Harvest Reserve owner DJ LeBaron said.
Among the items you need to include the basics of food and water and the stuff it'll take you days of paperwork to replace. That includes titles, deeds, certificates, insurance cards, medication, ID cards, sentimental items and more.
Evacuations can be chaotic, so it's important that every member of the family know what the plan is.
"You want to have a plan of action put together in your home, part of that plan of action is to have the entire family sit down and put together, 'Where will we meet? What will we do? Where will we go, and who will we call in case something happens?'" said LeBaron.
Your evacuation kit may not answer your every need, so the American Red Cross has agreements across the whole Western Slope to provide shelter should an evacuation happen.
"We partner up with the local school districts across western Colorado, churches, community centers and fairgrounds, those type of areas," Red Cross director Eric Myers said.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association offers up some more advice for anyone affected by a disaster or evacuated.
Experts say it's best to contact your insurance agent or company as soon as you can with your current contact information so they can reach you.
For more information, click on the link below.