Wildfires are most common and dangerous in mountainous states with dry hot weather. States with significant wildfire risks are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Wildfires pose extreme danger to those living in or around dry mountainous areas. Wildfires burn more than a million acres of land each year. In 2005, that number reached more than 8.5 million acres! Eighty percent of wildfires are cause by people, and while most are caused accidently, most are preventable.
Wildfires can grow out of control very quickly and are difficult to contain, especially in windy conditions. For those living in wildfire prone areas, its important to be prepared. Preparations take time and involve clearing brush and creating a clear zone around your home. wildfire can not only turn homes into burning cinders, but they can impact power and other utilities in the area. Exit routes may be blocked or cut off due to the fire or emergency equipment. In some cases, residents may be asked to evacuate. In any of these cases, being prepared and having a portable Emergency Preparedness Kit is essential.
Important Tips for Surviving a Wildfire
- use outside materials and plants that help contain fire, an not fuel it.
- Use fire resistant or non-flammable materials on the roof of your home.
- Paint or coat treated wood and combustible material used in roofs, siding, decks or trim with UL-approved fire-retardant chemicals.
- Plant fire-resistant plants and trees. Note that hardwood trees are more fire-resistant than pine trees, evergreen trees, eucalyptus trees or fir trees.
- Regularly clean your roof and rain gutters.
- Inspect and clean your chimneys at least twice a year. Keep the flu in good working order. Install spark arresters on your chimneys and stovepipes. Make sure they meet the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association Code 211.
- Use half-inch mesh screen underneath your porches, decks, floor areas and on the home itself.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, and consider adding them to each bedroom as well; test them monthly and change the batteries every year.
- Purchase a ladder that will reach the roof of your home.
- Consider installing protective shutters and heavy fire-resistant curtains.
- Keep household items that can be used as fire tools: rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel.
- Maintain an outdoor water source like a small pond, well, swimming pool, spa, or hydrant.
- Have a garden hose that can reach all parts of your home.
- Install exterior water outlets on two sides of your home.
- Consider purchasing a portable gas-powered pump in case of a power failure.
- If you home is built in pine a forest you should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet.
- If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice. Contact your local fire department for additional information.
- Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
- Remove leaves newspapers, and other trash from around your home and dispose of them properly.
- Prune a 15-foot space between each tree crown, and remove branches growing within 15 feet of the ground.
- Remove dead branches that extend over your roof.
- Trim tree branches and shrubs that are within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney.
- Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Remove vines and climbing plants from the walls of your home.
- Mow your grass regularly.
- Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and your barbecue.
- Place ashes from your stove, fireplace and grill in a metal bucket or container and soak in water for two days, then bury the ashes in mineral soil.
- Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety containers. Place the containers in a safe location away from the base of your home.
- Store firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home.
Preparing for a Wildfire
Being prepared for a wildfire or any other type of disaster requires preparation beforehand. There are three important steps you should complete in preparation for a wildfire. To make this even easier, Essential Packs provides you with a FREE online Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide that takes your step-by-step through the process:
Having the proper emergency preparedness kit, having a plan, and knowing what to do before a wildfire strikes, will greatly improve you and your family’s chances of being safe. Complete the 3-Step Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide today!
Get A Wildfire Survival Kit
Getting an Emergency Preparedness Kit for your home, office (or school), and car(s) is an essential first step in being prepared for a wildfire. Emergency Preparedness Kits from Essential Packs, provide you and your family with the emergency supplies your family needs to last for 3 days (72 hours). Deluxe Kits from Essential Packs are compliant with FEMA's guidelines and include important items like: emergency food and drinking water, flashlights, radios, first-aid supplies, sanitation supplies, emergency blankets, waterproof ponchos, and much more.
Make a Plan
In order to know what to do when a wildfire occurs, you need to create a Family Emergency Plan. Sit down with your family members and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in the event of a disaster or emergency.
To make this easy, Essential Packs provides you with a Family Emergency Planning Document that you can download for FREE. Simply open this PDF document and fill-in the blanks, then, print a copy for each family member, and store one copy in your Emergency Preparedness Kit.
You should update your Family Emergency Plan every six months, as phone number, work locations, and other important information could change.
For more help on creating a Family Emergency Plan, visit Step 2 - Make A Plan of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide.
The final step to getting prepared is to be informed about what to do before, during, and after a wildfire. FEMA's In-Depth Citizen's Guide to Disaster Preparedness helps you do this by providing you with comprehensive emergency preparedness information a variety of disasters.
Visit Step 3 - Be Informed of our Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide to download FEMA's comprehensive, 200 page book called, "Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness".