Before, During, and After a Wildfire
What to do during, before and after a wildfire.
What to do BEFORE a Wildfire:
- Create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials (minimum 30 ft)
- Adhere to all local fire and building codes and weed abatement ordinances.
- Keep all trees and shrub limbs trimmed so they do not come into contact with electrical wires or overhang your chimney (Do not trim around power lines yourself, call a professional).
- Prune all lower branches 8 feet from the ground.
- Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying branches.
- Stack firewood away from your home and other buildings (Keep clearance around your piles).
- Keep roof surfaces clear of pine needles, leaves and debris at all times.
- Clean chimneys and check and maintain spark arresters twice a year.
- Keep rain gutters clear of debris at all times.
- Use approved fire resistant materials when building, renovating or retrofitting structures.
- Be sure your house numbers show clearly from the street, both day and night.
- Store combustible or flammable materials in approved containers.
- Store all important papers in a fireproof container or keep copies at another location.
- Make evacuation plans with family members. Include several options with an outside meeting place and contact person. Practice regularly.
- Keep battery operated radios and flashlights with additional fresh batteries on hand.
What to do DURING a Wildfire:
- Turn on a TV or radio to get the latest emergency information.
- If you have a ladder, prop it against the house so you and firefighters have access to roof.
- If hoses and adequate water are available set them up. Fill buckets with water.
- Remove combustible material from the area surrounding the house (lawn chairs, tables, etc.).
- Turn a light on in each room for visibility in case of smoke.
- Open or take down flammable drapes and curtains.
- Close all venetian blinds and non-flammable window coverings.
- Move upholstered furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.
- Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when requested to do so.
- Turn off air conditioning/air circulation systems
- Detach electrical garage doors. Back in your car and leave the keys in the ignition.
- Secure your pets if possible.
What to do AFTER a Wildfire:
- Check with fire officials before attempting to return to your home.
- Use caution when re-entering a burned area - flare ups can occur.
- Check grounds for hot spots, smoldering stumps and vegetation. Use your buckets of water.
- Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks and embers.
- Check the attic and throughout the house for hidden burning, sparks and embers.
- Continue to check for problem areas for several days.
- Contact 911 if any danger is perceived.