Wildfire Preparation

A single spark could grow out of control.

When it comes to wildfires, time is of the essence. And while there’s no way to completely fireproof your home, with proper preparation, there are steps you can take to help defend your home if a wildfire is coming your way.

wildfire rages through landscape

Before a Wildfire

Make a plan

Prepare your emergency kit and make a communication plan. Identify evacuation routes in your area and define a meeting point for your family.

Retrofit your home

Equipping your home with fire-resistant materials could help serve as a last line of defense.

Build your defense

Create a zone around your house to slow the wildfire or direct it around your home. This zone around your home can range from 30 feet all the way to 100 feet, depending on how much “fuel” is located in your yard.

Remove any fuel sources

While maintaining your yard, keep trees 10 feet apart, remove dead or dying trees and shrubs, and mow your lawn regularly. Promptly dispose of any cuttings and debris.

Maintain the perimeter

Keep your irrigation system in good shape, and clear your roof and gutters of leaves and debris. Move any firewood piles and storage tanks at least 50 feet away from your home. Avoid connecting any wooden fencing to your home.

Get backup

Create digital copies of any important paper documents, and keep the originals in a fireproof safe.

During an Wildfire

Be ready

If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately and tell someone where you’re going and when you’ve arrived.

Call 9-1-1

If you spot a fire, don’t assume that someone else has already called.

After an Wildfire

Listen to authorities

Only return home when they say it’s safe. Keep checking for smoke, sparks, or embers throughout the house several hours after returning.

Exercise caution

Hot spots may still exist and cause flare-ups without warning; evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.

Clean your home

Use a NIOSH-certified respirator and wet debris to minimize breathing dust.

Check food and water

Discard foods and water that may have been exposed to soot, smoke, or other contaminants.

Source: Ready.gov.

Real People. Real Disasters. Real Stories.

No one can truly understand the power of Mother Nature unless they’ve seen it for themselves. These people have. Read on to learn more about their incredible stories, what they’ve learned and what they wished they had known.

She Raced a Fire That Scorched 40,000 Acres in 12 Hours and Lost Almost Everything

A harrowing first-person account of a family outrunning one of the worst blazes in California history

It Was a Run-for-your-life Evacuation

This veterinarian thought he'd seen the worst in a 2015 wildfire. Find out how his 5-acre animal hospital survived not one — but two — blazes.

"You Could Hear Crackling and Popping... Like Kindling in a Fireplace."

The 2016 Great Smoky Mountain wildfires scorched more than 26.5 square miles in Tennessee and claimed 14 lives. One local describes his family's narrow escape