ASHLAND, Ore.,--33 households in Ashland opted-in to participate in the evacuation drill that happened Saturday morning.
Around 9:30, everyone signed up for Nixle alerts through received a text that said "*EXERCISE ONLY* A Level 3 "GO" evacuation has been ordered for those participating in today's drill. Those with pets report to the Grove (1195 E. Main) Those without report to SOU gym (Webster & Wightman.)
Within 10 minutes, residents started to show up at the evacuation location. The Community Emergency Response Team was there to make sure everyone was accounted for and ask what route they took to get there.
Tasha Schaal was among one of the participating households and says she's thankful for today's drill. This is the first one Ashland has had in more than 10 years. With wildfire season becoming so intense in Southern Oregon, she has been concerned about emergency evacuations.
"There's only one way in and one way out and I've been very concerned about any kind of earthquake or situation where we're all going to be trying to get out of town the same way," says Schaal.
Today's evacuation was also to help prepare emergency response teams. Fire and Police crews lined the neighborhoods in the evacuated areas. Emergency response staff even blocked and directed traffic, creating traffic jam simulation. Ashland Fire Rescue wildfire division chief, Chris Chambers, says today's drill is a great way to work out any issues before a real emergency.
"It is wildfire season and evacuation could happen at any moment and people really need to be prepared to leave at a moments notice. It's happened before in Ashland and around the Rogue Valley and it will happen again this year somewhere in Southern Oregon," says Chambers.
You can sign up for Nixle alerts for the Ashland area by texting 97520 to the number 888777.