What to do Before and After a Wildfire
Wildfires can spread quickly, so speed and efficiency are keys to securing your home and your family. If you have time when a wildfire is approaching:
- Remove flammable materials like trash, furniture and vehicles from around your home
- Shut off the gas
- Be ready to soak roofs, shrubs and trees with water within 15 feet of buildings
- Close all windows and doors, and remove window coverings such as curtains or blinds
- Fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans or other large containers with water
- Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so if the power goes out, you can still open the door
During a wildfire
- Follow news reports so you know how much danger you're facing.
- Keep lights on for visibility in smoky conditions. Distribute flashlights.
- If you must evacuate, follow routes dictated by local officials. Wildfires can quickly change directions and your planned escape route may be blocked
If you're in a car
- Roll up the windows and close air vents.
- Drive slowly with the headlights on.
- If you have to stop, turn the engine off, but keep the headlights on. Get on the floor, and cover up with a blanket.
- Don't run. By letting air in the car, the temperature will increase, and smoke and sparks may enter.
If you're caught in the open
- Go somewhere that is offers less fuel for the fire such as the backside of a mountain. Avoid canyons and saddles.
- If you're close to a road, lie down in a ditch and cover yourself with anything that can protect you from the heat.
After a wildfire
- Don't return home until you're told it's safe to do so.
- Check roofs and attics for hot spots or sparks and extinguish them immediately. Continue checking every few hours for a day.
- Use caution when entering a building and avoid all standing water. It may have an electrical charge.
- Check over all utilities and consult a professional if damage has been done.
This information is meant to help you make decisions that may reduce your risk. Of course, we can't note every possible risk, and we can't guarantee that these tips will work for you. However, we hope that if you use some of them, you'll better protect your family and yourself.
For more information on wildfires, check out what we have under Catastrophes.