Benton County residents received fire evacuation warnings. Here’s what those levels mean

Residents in parts of the Finley area are being told to prepare to evacuate as the Toothaker Fire spreads. (Benton County Fire District 1)

Benton County residents received a Level 2 evacuation warning Thursday evening because of a wildfire that had grown to 32 acres. Residents near the Finley area were initially put on a higher alert due to the Toothaker Fire, which started around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

The U.S. Forest Service offers guidance on what the three evacuation levels mean:

Level 1: Initial evacuation alert

This warning is for your awareness. Be ready to start or begin preparing for Level 2. Consider what to pack in the event an evacuation is necessary, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Level 2: Evacuation warning or notice.

You should begin packing the necessary items, preparing your family, pets and car.

Necessary items can be remembered using the six P’s method:

A plan for the people in your family (including a meeting place.)

Personal items (including toiletries, food and water for 2-3 days and special personal possessions.)

Prescriptions: Have your full, current supply of prescriptions packed.

Photographs (and other mementos) which cannot be replaced.

Pets: Have a plan in place and pets secured so frightened pets don’t escape fenced yards or kennels.

Papers: Pack all important papers, including reference phone numbers, account numbers and the like.

Level 3: Evacuation request or order

There is an immediate threat in your area. You need to leave. People will be given a specified time period or routes, according to the Forest Service.

You should take your family, pets, and necessary items, including medications and important papers, and evacuate now if you are in a Level 3 area.

Check in with the local Red Cross shelter (even if you don’t intend to stay there) to let them know where you will be in case your family is looking for you.

Drive with your lights on, safely and slowly and remain aware of your surroundings.