What To Do In Case Of Wildfires

How To Prevent A Wildfire

  • Build fires away from nearby trees or bushes. Ash and cinders lighter than air float and may be blown into areas with heavy fuel load, starting wildfires.
  • Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely. If the fire becomes threatening, you will need to extinguish it immediately.
  • Never leave a fire - even a cigarette - burning unattended. Fire can quickly spread out of control.

Create A Safety Zone Around Your Home

  • Rake leaves, dead limbs, and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
  • Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures.
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
  • Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
  • Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Remove vines from the walls of the home.
  • Mow grass regularly.
  • Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue. Place a screen over the grill -- use nonflammable material with mesh no coarser than one-quarter inch.
  • Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site. Follow local burning regulations.
  • Place stove, fireplace, and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for 2 days, then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.
  • When Evacuating A Wildfire

    • Wear protective clothing:
      • sturdy shoes
      • cotton or woolen clothing
      • long pants
      • a long-sleeved shirt
      • gloves
      • a handkerchief to protect your face
    • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
    • Lock your home.
    • Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
    • Choose a route away from fire hazards.

    If You Know You Have Time To Protect your House


    • Close windows, vents, doors, blinds, or noncombustible window coverings and heavy drapes. Remove lightweight curtains.
    • Shut off all utilities if possible, including bottled gas.
    • Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens.
    • Move flammable furniture into the center of the home away from windows and sliding glass doors.
    • Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility


    • Seal attic and ground vents with precut noncombustible coverings.
    • Turn off propane tanks.
    • Place combustible patio furniture inside.
    • Connect the garden hose to outside taps.
    • Set up a portable gasoline-powered pump.
    • Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near aboveground fuel tanks. Wetting the roof may help if it is shake-shingled.
    • Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of home.

    What To Tell Children

    • Practice stop, drop, and roll.
      • Know how to stop, drop, and roll in case your clothes catch on fire.
      • Stop what you are doing, drop to the ground, cover your face, and roll back and forth until the flames go out.
      • Running will only make the fire burn faster.
      • Practicing makes the appropriate response more of an automatic reaction, during an actual emergency situation.
    • Matches and lighters are tools for "grown-ups". 
      • These tools help adults use fire properly.
      • Instruct children to tell an adult right away if they see someone playing with fire, matches, or lighters.
      • National Fire Protection Association research has shown that children associate tools with grown-ups, and "grown-up" is a term children use for someone in authority.
    • Firefighters are our friends, and they will help in case of a fire. 
      • Visit a fire station to help ease children's fears.
      • A fire suit and mask are often frightening and children may try to hide from a firefighter in full protective gear.

    How To Protect Pets

    • Just with humans, have a disaster pet kit.
    • If you smell smoke, hear of fires or see any signs of dangerous weather, bring your pet inside.
    • Scared pets panic. Make sure they can't escape.
    • Keep a list of pet friendly hotels, motels, friends, family and shelters so you have a place to stay.
    • Don't wait until an "official evacuation" is announced. Leave early so you aren't forced to leave your pets behind.
    • If you do have to leave your pets behind, leave a note with your contact information so rescue teams can find you.
    • Make sure pets have identification tags secured to them with your contact information.
    • Stay away from windows, fireplaces and appliance. Keep pets out of the kitchen.
    • When there is damage outside, confine your pet to keep them safe from destroyed property, power lines and flooded/burnt areas.
    • Never assume your pet can find their way home. A disaster can wipe out scent markers that pets use to get their bearings.  
    • Click on the ASPCA's site for more pet disaster protection tips.

    You can find more information on wildfire prevention at FEMA's official website.