The threat of wildland fires for people living near wildland areas or using recreational facilities in wilderness areas is real. Dry conditions at various times of the year greatly increase the potential for wildland fires. Advance planning and knowing how to protect buildings in these areas can lessen the devastation of a wildland fire.
What to Do Before a Wildfire
- Make plans to care for your pets in case you must evacuate.
- Shut off gas, pilot lights and propane tanks. Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens. Move flammable furniture away from windows and sliding-glass doors. Place combustible patio furniture inside.
- Turn on lights to increase visibility of your home in heavy smoke.
- Seal attic and ground vents with plywood or commercial seals.
- Connect the garden hose to outside taps.
- Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof. Wet or remove shrubs near the home.
- Leave doors and windows closed but unlocked. It may be necessary for firefighters to gain quick entry into your home.
What to Do During a Wildfire
- Wear protective clothing, sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and handkerchief to protect your face.
- The water you put into your pool or hot tub and other containers will come in handy now. If the power is out, try connecting a hose to the outlet on your water heater.
- Evacuate when instructed and bring your disaster supply kit.
- Tell someone when you leave and where you are going.
- Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke. Stay calm. As the fire front approaches, stay inside unless advised to evacuate by officials.
What to Do After a Wildfire
- After evacuation, return home when authorities advise that it's safe.
- Check the roof immediately. Put out any roof fires, sparks or embers.
- The attic for hidden burning sparks for several hours after the fire and maintain a "fire watch."
- Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the house.
- Monitor radio and TV for current information.
Education for Children
Be sure to teach your children these important fire safety rules:
- Get out of the building as fast as you can, without taking anything and never return for any reason.
- Never run if your clothes catch fire, but "stop, drop, roll and get help from an adult."
- Feel a door to see if there is fire on the other side.
- Smoke is deadly; they need to "fall and crawl" to avoid smoke inhalation.
- Never hide in a closest or under a bed.