'It's not if, but when': Mill Valley conducts city-wide wildfire evacuation drill

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, one city is rehearsing for the possibility of a wildfire disaster. Mill Valley held a city-wide evacuation drill on Saturday, putting to the test how to get everyone out safely.

"I think it's not a question of if, but when," said Mill Valley resident Max Perrey.

It's a fear that never goes away for neighbors of Mill Valley, the threat of wildfire.

RELATED: How to prepare for a wildfire evacuation

It's why an evacuation drill happened on Saturday. About 300 residents, volunteering their time and their cars, getting out of town as fast and as orderly as they could.

"Doing an evacuation drill city-wide gives us information to direct residents," said Ashley Ravache from Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission.

RELATED: California Wildfire Tracker

With epic drought conditions, fierce wildfires have burned across California this summer. But finding the safest evacuation route isn't easy in this town of mountains and trees.

RELATED: Prepare NorCal: Disaster Preparedness Resources

"The question is how can we clear the hillside and canyons? Best way to do it is to clear the roadways below," said Linn Walsh Mill Valley Spokesperson.

Evacuation drills are a big deal here, considering there are only two ways out of town. Mill Valley is working with Google on ways to identify bottlenecks are get everyone out safely.

East Blithedale is one of those evacuation routes, on a normal day it can be a traffic jam.

"Our goal is to see how we could get those streets freed up quickly. Down by the the freeway, there's a new plan to use Contra flow, to get all the cars out in one direction," said Mill Valley Mayor John McCauley.

The past few years have been anything but a drill in the North Bay. Massive wildfires chasing thousands from their homes.

"We've seen fires in 2019 and it's a question when is that coming to Mill Valley. We all need to do our part, that's knowing what to do in an evacuation," said Perrey.

Officials say Saturday's evacuation was quick and orderly, they hope neighbors will know what do in a real fire emergency.

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