Five groups of individuals gather around five separate table playing a board game indoors at the Tomales Branch Library
Residents gathered in the Tomales town hall to play a game about wildfire evacuation. (Katherine Monahan/KQED)

California Researchers Develop Board Game to Teach Wildfire Safety. Can It Save Lives?

"Dozens of residents and firefighters gathered on Sunday in the tiny coastal town of Tomales. In the town hall, past a table of coffee and donut holes, they met around six folding tables covered with giant maps of Tomales and the surrounding agricultural region from Dillon Beach to Two Rock.

Each map was a game board for “Tomales Resilience,” an experimental game that simulates a real-life wildfire evacuation. People play as themselves.

First, residents calculated whether they would start with a bonus or a penalty. They added points for how prepared they are in real life, like by already having a go bag or a radio. They subtracted points for factors that could slow them down, like having multiple pets.

Then, a Tomales firefighter used a spinner to generate the characteristics of an imaginary fire, including which day and time the fire would break out. Residents put their game pieces — which represented their real-life modes of transportation — at the point on the map where they would be at that time."

Hear the full story at KQED

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