Wildfire drill today: Woodside residents evacuate homes


On Saturday, May 16, firefighting crews will be at their jobs as if a major wildfire were burning in the vicinity of Old La Honda Road in Woodside.

Residents living in three neighborhoods will be asked to evacuate their home for the annual drill in the Woodside Fire Protection District, said Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso.

The fire district -- which includes Woodside, Portola Valley and nearby unincorporated communities -- chose a Saturday for the drill because more people will be at home to participate, said Town Manager Kevin Bryant.

The town's emergency operations center will be up and running and participating in the drill.

A fire drill timeline provided by the fire district includes the possibility of evacuation of residents near Portola Road and Highway 84 at midmorning.

Another midmorning evacuation could be ordered along Old La Honda Road, Upper Lake Road, Lower Lake Road, according to the plan.

Residents on Espinosa Road and Grandview Drive may be included in this evacuation.

Residents "have responded very enthusiastically," the chief said. "We understand the effort it will take on their part and are very happy with their desire to participate."

Old La Honda Road will be closed to traffic, including bicycle traffic, for the day, the fire district said.

The purpose of the drill, Chief Ghiorso said, is twofold: train firefighters for a wildfire that is inevitable, whether in the district or elsewhere in the region, and educate the community on preparing for and responding to that fire when it comes.

"We have been doing this drill for four years now and it gets better every year in regards to participation, challenges and overall organization," the chief said.

Dave Boyce


11 people like this
Posted by c
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on May 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm

No bike riders on Old La Honda Road all day Saturday - what a nice break!

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 13, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

This is a superb plan. Hopefully everyone involved will appreciate how difficult such evacuations will be and when the real wildfire comes they will know to get out early rather than wait until it is too late.

Will they have fire trucks going in the opposite direction as will happen when a real wildfire occurs? Remember what happened in the Oakland hills fire - fire engines going in one direction and cars going in the opposite direction made many roads impassable.

2 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 13, 2015 at 2:32 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Practice makes perfection. Drill do pay off in real emergencies.

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