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Before, During and After a Wildfire

  • Wildfires can change course unpredictably and move with astonishing speed. It's especially important to make sure each family member is prepared to follow directions, stay calm and take safety precautions.

    If You Know a Fire Is Coming:

    • Listen to radio reports from the national and local authorities for evacuation information and instructions.
    • Confine pets to one room and have pet carriers ready.
    • If the fire is near, close doors and windows to prevent drafts, and take down flammable drapes and curtains.
    • Turn on a light in each room for visibility in heavy smoke.
    • Close gas valves and turn off pilot lights.
    • Place valuables that won't be damaged by water in a pool or pond, and plan to take with you anything else you need to protect.
    • Leave sprinklers running on your roof to protect against flying sparks.
    • Park the car headed in the direction of escape, roll up the windows, shut the doors and keep the keys handy.
    • Close but don't lock your garage doors and windows, and disconnect your automatic garage door opener.
    If You Are Caught in a Fire:

    • Get to a pool, pond, river or even swamp as quickly as possible.
    • If you can't get to water, lie flat near a rock or concrete patio or wall, covering your head and upper body with wet clothing or soil.
    • Try to breathe air close to the ground through a wet cloth to prevent smoke inhalation.
    • If you are in the house, bend over or crawl to get under the smoke, keeping your head no more than two feet above the floor, where the air will be cleanest.
    • Feel doorknobs or doors with the back of your hand to check for heat, indicating there may be a fire on the other side of the door.
    • If you are trapped in your car while evacuating:

      • Park in an open area clear of vegetation.
      • Close all windows and vents.
      • Lie on the floor and cover yourself with a blanket or jacket.
    After the Fire Has Passed:

    • Before going home, listen to the radio or speak with local authorities to confirm that it is safe to return to your property.
    • Check the roof and attic immediately for any hot spots, sparks or embers. Continue rechecking the house and yard for burning embers for at least 12 hours.