LOMPOC, Calif. - The city of Lompoc is encouraging people to register for critical mobile alerts with all the recent wildfires.
The “Aware and Prepare” emergency notification system is a county-wide system that sends important information to your cell phone when there's an emergency.
The "Aware and Prepare" system allows people to receive mobile alerts for the latest information on incidents affecting the community, such as recent wildfires.
"Pretty nervous, pretty scary too," Tony Lara said, who lives just outside of Lompoc city limits.
That's how Tony Lara was feeling two weeks ago when he found out the Rucker Fire was just feet from his home.
He was at work and immediately drove towards his Mission Hills neighborhood, just outside of Lompoc.
"But everything was closed down, we couldn't get to the house," Lara said.
With that road closure and all the homes in his neighborhood being evacuated, him and his family watched the news from his mom's house.
"It looked like it was pretty close to the house," Lara said.
Lara was finally able to come home the next day to check on his place.
"We came home and we opened the door and there was a lot of smoke in the house, we opened the windows.. it was too smoky in there," Lara said.
The notification system ensures area residents receive up-to-date information in the event of emergency incidents.
Community members can customize their preferences and methods for receiving alerts, including text message, email and phone voice messages.
In addition, the Aware and Prepare website offers helpful tips and information that will benefit both residents and visitors.
The Aware and Prepare website also includes guidance on completing and practicing an escape plan from a home, office, or neighborhood.
For more information, and to sign up for emergency alerts, visit www.awareandprepare.org.
This is especially timely with the recent fires in Northern California, Southern California -- and just in recent weeks -- several fires that broke out just outside of Lompoc city limits like in the Mission Hills neighborhood.
Thousands of people in the Napa and Sonoma County area didn't receive mobile alerts because they hadn't signed up.
The city is also urging people to download the Lompoc Police Department’s mobile app, available for free on both Apple and Android mobile devices. The app enables the public to receive timely bulletins about missing people, stolen vehicles, traffic incidents, and more.
The app also allows the public to easily submit tips -- anonymously if desired -- send comments, photos and place non-emergency calls to the department with the touch of a button.
Sean Larsen will have full reports at 10 p.m. on Fox 11 News and at 11 p.m. on KCOY 12 Central Coast News.