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Lessons Learned the Hard Way

When a devastating fire changes the topography of a community, fire education and defensible space requirements quickly change to adjust with the evolving natural and man-made hazards that face a burn scarred area. West Slope Foundation quickly identified the changing needs after the Caldor Fire, and developed several programs that support the community with a new approach to disaster preparedness and recovery education, training and hands on learning opportunities. Our goal is to educate the people living in vulnerable rural western slope communities, so the next time a disaster strikes the results will not be as devasting, by providing valuable tools, supplies and resources to homeowners and renters. This includes developing disaster plans, preparing for evacuations and understandings the steps needed to rebuild their lives after a natural or man-made disaster.  

Learning Better Ways to Survive Disasters


Disaster Resiliency Education and Outreach

Activities utilizing our interactive community and partner response model: Go-Bags (food and water, shelter and warmth, first aid, hygiene and sanitation, batteries and headlamps, etc.) workshops, community fire drills partnering with El Dorado County Sheriff’s office, Locals and State Office of Emergency Services, Pioneer Fire Protection District, Fire Safe Councils and Pioneer Volunteer Firefighters Association. 


Disaster Readiness Guide

A guide designed for community members living in rural areas focusing on practical strategies for preparedness, response, relief and recovery.  WSF understands that more wildfire prevention planning efforts are needed and is now moving into an increased coordinated outreach, education, and community development phase.


Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program

Bringing together neighborhoods in rural El Dorado County so that we can learn together, share information, and implement effective wildfire disaster preparedness measures, resulting in a network of communities that are more connected and better prepared for wildfire. 

West Slope Foundation's
Community Commitment

A lot of difficult lessons have been learned since the Caldor Fire ravaged parts of the Western Slope of El Dorado County starting on August 14, 2021.  Evacuees who fled the flames quickly learned that pre-disaster planning was limited in their communities and that if more on-going education had been available, Caldor Fire preparedness, response, relief and recovery efforts would have been far more effective and efficient.  There were some amazing people who stepped forward though to help in the days, weeks and months following the fire.  Their tireless efforts eased the suffering, gave survivors hope and met many of the evacuee's basis needs. 

Responding to disasters without a coordinated plan is not the way it should be done though.  West Slope Foundation is working hard to ensure better results when the next disaster strikes.  Our disaster focused programs are designed to rectify this lack of pre­-planning and education and will improve future outcomes for our community - our neighbors.

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