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When wildfires occur during hot and dry weather, they can burn extremely hot and have the potential to have a rapid rate of spread.
These huge fires create large plumes of smoke that often have an impact on people’s health.
Houses can be damaged or destroyed in the path of a wildfire and human behavior is usually to blame.
People, both directly and indirectly, are the cause of 9 out of 10 wildfires and some causes are:
- Children playing with matches or lighters
- People carelessly discarding smoking materials or BBQ coals
- People causing sparks from power equipment and power lines
- Campfires or yard debris fires left unattended or improperly extinguished
As a result, there is a continuing need for children and adults to learn the necessary care and caution when dealing with fire.
Have a Plan
- Know your evacuation routes out of your community.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system.
- Gather emergency supplies and put them in a “Go Bag”.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air.
- Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
- Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area on your property.
- Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
- Pay attention to air quality alerts.
- Evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so.
- If trapped, then call 911 and give your location, but be aware that emergency response could be delayed or impossible. Turn on lights to help rescuers find you.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- Use an N95 mask to keep harmful particles out of the air you breathe.
- If you are not ordered to evacuate but smoky conditions exist, stay inside in a safe location or go to a community building where smoke levels are lower.
Be Safe After
- Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return, and whether water is safe to drink.
- Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers. The ground may contain heat pockets that can burn you or spark another fire. Consider the danger to pets and livestock.
- Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy following a disaster. Make calls only in emergencies.
- Wear a NIOSH certified-respirator and wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Document property damage with photographs. Conduct an inventory and contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Wildfires dramatically change landscape and ground conditions, which can lead to increased risk of flooding due to heavy rains, flash flooding and mud flows. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire. Consider purchasing flood insurance to protect the life you’ve built and to assure financial protection from future flooding.
To learn more about preparing for a wildfire emergency, visit any of the helpful links listed below:
For activities and lessons for the whole family, visit